Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Yankees Continue Hot Streak By Beating Up M's


While the crosstown Mets just can't seem to get out of their own way, the New York Yankees are starting to heat things up. The Bombers blasted the mediocre Seattle Mariners 8-5 at the new Yankee Stadium to extend their winning streak to six games.

Offensively, the Bombers did just enough to hold off a Seattle team that pounded Joba Chamberlain through five and a third innings. Chamberlain gave up three runs on nine hits in that span, continuing a long stretch of average starts by the hefty right hander.

Luckily for Chamberlain, he had a good team behind him. In the second inning, Hideki Matsui reached on a throwing error by Mariners third baseman Chris Woodward to drive in Robinson Cano and move Jorge Posada to third base. Two batters later, Melky Cabrera drove in Posada with a sac fly to left center to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead.

But, the Mariners would not go away. Ronnie Cedeno led off the third inning with a solo home run to left to cut the lead in half. Then, the Mariners tied the game at three, when Russell Brayan singled to bring home Ichiro Suzuki, and Franklin Gutierrez brought home Jose Lopez to tie it up at three a piece.

The Yankees finally countered in the seventh inning, as Johnny Damon led things off with a ground rule double off of Chirs Jakubauskas. Later, Alex Rodriguez broke the ice off of the Yankees bats with a two run shot to give the Yankees a 5-3 lead.

But, again, Seattle just wouldn't go away. Brian Bruney struggled with his control for the second straight outing. He allowed three straight hits to Gutierrez, Woodward, and Kenji Johjima. Johjima's single drove in Gutierrez to make it 5-4. After Ichiro drew an intentional walk, Branyan hit a sac fly to left to drive in Woodward to tie the game again at 5-5.

Finally in the bottom of the eighth, the Yankees stormed back. With Steve White on the mound for the Mariners, the Yankees pounded out four hits and three runs to take the deciding lead of the game. Matsui led off with a double to right center; then Nick Swisher reached first base on a bunt single to move pinch runner Brett Gardner to third. Cabrera doubled to center to drive home Gardner to give the Yankees a 6-5 lead. Finally, Derek Jeter singled up the middle to drive in both Cabrera and Swisher to give the Bombers a 8-5 lead.

Mariano Rivera, just one game separated from his first career RBI and 500th career save, notched his 501st career save with a 1,2, 3 ninth to close the game out for the Yankees. Box Score.

Bumbling Mets Continue To Stumble


Buffoonery is now the Mets new identitiy. For the team that can't shoot straight, things went from sublime to utterly ridiculous on Tuesday as the depleted Mets lost again, this time to a tune of 6-3 to the Milwaukee Brewers.

With New York up 2-1, things went from bad to worse. First, Johan Santana walked pitcher Mike Burns with one out. Walking a pitcher is now an art crafted specifically by the Mets, i.e. Mariano Rivera's bases loaded walk by K-Rod on Sunday delivering the closer his first career RBI.

Anyway, to get back to the game. With Burns on first, Corey Hart doubled to center to move Burns to third. Next, J.J. Hardy drew a walk to load them up. Then, the newest addition to the bloopers reel happened.

Ryan Braun popped the ball up to deep center field. Fernando Martinez tried to his best to get over and catch the ball, but the center fielder slipped and did a swan dive onto his face into the outfield dirt. The ball fell right next to him. I thought something like that only happened in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. Nope, only the Mets.

As a result, Burns, Hardy and Hart all came in to score. Gary Sheffield's relay throw to the plate bounced on a hop to the backstop. Santana, who was backing up the play, picked the ball up and threw it over David Wright's head while Braun was advancing to third. The ball slid down the left field line, allowing a stunned Braun to get up and scamper home with the fourth run of the inning.

The Mets never responded offensively, and how could they with a lineup that features Martinez, Nick Evans, Dan Murphy, Alex Cora, and Luis Castillo as the main threats. As for Santana, he was seen screaming at his teammates after the four run debacle in the fourth inning. Hey Johan; nobody told you to pick up a baseball and throw it like a shot put!

The bumbling Mets are in need of some help (understatement of the year) as they now fall to 37-39 on the season, the lowest point they have been in since April. Box Score.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Burnett Cruises By Mets Once Again


A. J. Burnett must love the Mets. In two starts against the Metropolitans Burnett has pitched his best baseball of the season, proving to the Yankee brass and fans that he was worth the $83 million they paid him in the off-season.

Burnett is 2-0 against the Mets logging in 14 innings of shut out baseball. He surrendered only five hits to the Mets in those two starts and struck out 18. Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good, if I don't say so myself.

Tonight, Burnett held the Mets to just one hit all night, and even carried a no hitter through the games first five innings. The win brings Burnett's totals to 6-4 with a respectable 3.98 ERA.

Offensively, the Yankees had no trouble blasting balls out of "pitcher-friendly" Citi Field. Nick Swisher hit an opposite field home run over the 16 foot wall in left to give the Bronx Bombers a 1-0 lead in the third inning.

In the sixth, things fell apart for Mets starter Tim Redding, who was keeping pace with Burnett through the first five. But, the sixth was a different story. Mark Teixeria lined a double off of the center field wall to get things started. Alex Rodriguez then drove Teixeria in with a single up the middle to make it 2-0. Robinson Cano followed with a double down the left field line, that just stayed fair.

Rodriguez should have scored on the play, but he never ran on the play; instead, he watched the ball land in fair territory. Consequently, Rodriguez had to stay on third base. Finally, Jorge Posada homered to left center to give the Yankees an insurmountable 5-0 lead.

The Yankees have now outscored the Mets 29-1 in their last three games together, two of which were dominated by Burnett. Box Score.

Tomorrow, the Mets get one more shot at the Yankees, as they try to salvage a game in this series. They will send Livan Hernandez (5-2, 4.05 ERA) to the hill. Hernandez has been the Mets best starter not named Johan Santana. The Yankees will counter with Chein-Ming Wang who is still looking for his first win of the season.

NOTE: Tonight's Yankees win, marks the first time since 2003 that the Bombers have won a season series from the Mets. In 2004 the Mets went 4-2 against the Yankees. From 2005-2007 the two teams went a combined 9-9 against each other, and last season, the Mets won again 4-2. In 2003, the Yankees not only won the season series from the Mets, they swept them in all six games.

The Time Has Come To Say Good Bye To Subway Series

Thank you once again, Bud Selig. Twelve years ago, you gave baseball fans across the country, and especially in the New York/New Jersey market, something to watch every June and July: inter-league play.

For the initial five or six years, the annual right of early summer brought us intriguing matchups that no one would be able to see unless it was late October. Regional rivalries such as Yankees vs. Mets, Indians vs. Reds, Cardinals vs. Royals, Cubs vs. White Sox, as well as the never before seen match ups: Yankees vs. Phillies, Mets vs. Indians, Barry Bonds at old Yankee Stadium, Ichiro Suzuki in his first at bat ever at Shea Stadium and many more brought fans to the fields of play.

Yes, there was a time that as a fan, I used to love inter-league play, especially the Subway Series. Every time the Yankees and Mets would meet, it felt like Armageddon Day; the last thing in the world a fan wanted was to see his team go down to its cross town rival and having to hear about it at school or work the next day.

My heart used to beat as fast as it could during a pennant chase in late September and October. I lived and died with every strike, ball, single, double and home run. It was great back then. It meant something then.

From the Met perspective, they were trying to derail the reigning World Champions Yankees, a team that dominated not only the back pages of New York newspapers but dominated every single team in baseball.

Met fans couldn't stand the sight of every big hit from Derek Jeter, the violent passion of Paul O'Neil, and, oh yes, Roger Clemens and his 'Roid rage on Mike Piazza.
From the Yankee perspective, they looked at the Mets and their fans as that annoying little crosstown cousin who had no muscles, no hot girls, buck teeth and wore glasses so big he looked an owl.

The Mets were a pest back then, always treating any win against the Yankees as Game Six of the 1986 World Series, and any loss as the worst thing in the world next to death and taxes.
The Yankees hated losing to the Mets because they were supposed to be the "inferior" team in the city. The Yanks were the Champs, and losing to the Mets would mean that George Steinbrenner would swoop down from his leather recliner at Yankee Stadium to chop someone's head off before the night was over.

Back then, the passion was there. Today, it is pretty much gone.

With the exception of the "Castillo Drop" game, the Subway Series this year has slowly and sadly lost a lot of its luster. Yankee and Shea Stadium used to be filled with chants of "Lets Go Yankees," "Yankees Suck" and "Lets Go Mets." Those chants were so loud you could hear it on TV.

Today, you could hear a pin drop. Fans sit on their hands as if they were watching an Orioles/Yankee game or a Mets/Nationals game. The fans do go, and do root for their team, but the hatred between the rivals is gone.

Maybe that has something to do with the fact that neither team has really been successful over the past five years, or maybe it has something to do with the consistent success of true division rivals in Boston and Philadelphia that has caused this series to wane.

Or, maybe it is the blatant fact that fans have to endure not only one, three game series between the Mets and Yankees, they have to endure two series, separated by just a week or two every single year.

Too much of a good thing? I think so.

Fans in the metropolitan area have seen over 75 games between these two teams since 1997, including the 2000 World Series, with six games to be played every season between the two from here to eternity.

At some point, the post-season-like-passion for this event is going to be come to end. It is summertime, with 100 games left to play and more important games to play against the likes of the Phillies, Red Sox, Marlins and Rays. There is really no need anymore to treat this one series as the be all or end all.

For years, participants of this series, whether they be Joe Torre or Willie Randolph, or David Wright or Derek Jeter, usually played down the importance of the Subway Series; now, fans are starting to do that as well.

Yesterday, as I was getting ready to watch game one of another Subway Series, I noticed that the papers didn't have the big pull-outs that they used to have earlier in the decade. Fans weren't calling up talk radio to blast their Yankee or Met counterparts, and the atmosphere at Citi Field was kind of dull.

It is easy enough to get pumped up for one, three game series, but two series? No, it is getting harder every year.

Therefore, it is time to reconsider this whole inter-league schedule. Instead of two Subway Series at both Yankee Stadium and Citi Field, baseball should limit New York fans to just one series every year, with the two teams squaring off at one stadium one year and the other the next.

Instead of having the series in mid-June, it should be scheduled on the 4th of July weekend when family and friends usually get together for BBQ's, socializing and, of course, baseball. If that were to happen, the passion would return for this series, since it would be a once a year occurrence like Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

This should be the case for every city. Chicago should have only one Cubs/White Sox series; Maryland should have only one Nationals/Orioles series; southern California should have only one Angles/Dodgers series.

Moreover, the rest of inter-league play should be eliminated, allowing teams to play more games against rivals from the same league. Why? The Wild Card, a playoff spot that has become one of the most cherished pieces of October in recent years.

We are a spoiled lot here in New York, but if we want to feel the old passions for the Subway Series again, then baseball must step in and find a way to make Mets/Yankees special once again.

The Fourth of July and Inter-City Baseball! What could be a more American way of celebrating America's birthday than that?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Yankees Pound Bumbling Mets At Citi Field


For some odd reason, the New York Mets forget how to play baseball whenever they see the pin strips of the New York Yankees in the opposing dugout. Like their tussle in the Bronx, the Mets bobbled, balked and stumbled through a 9-1 spanking at the hands of the crosstown Yankees.

The Bombers didn't have to blast the ball out of the park to win this one, instead blooping balls all over the Mets outfield, and playing small ball from post to post.

The Yankees got the party started in the second, after Melky Cabrera singled off of Mike Pelfrey to start the inning. Cabrera advanced to second thanks in part to David Wright's throwing error to first base which got away from first baseman, Nick Evans.

Two batters later, Ramiro Pena, subbing for an ill Derek Jeter, lined a double down the left field line to drive in Melky to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. Pitcher C.C. Sabathia followed that up with a soft single up the middle that got by a diving Alex Cora driving in Pena to make it 2-0.

Later, Cora made a horrendous throwing error to first base on a Johnny Damon hit, allowing Sabathia to score to make it 3-0 Yankees. The comedy of errors continued when Mark Tiexeria reached first base on a bobble by Nick Evans, who never had control of the ground ball at first base. As a result, Brett Gardner came in to score to make it 4-0 Bombers.

In total, the Mets had three errors in one inning. It didn't help that Pelfery was inconsistent for the third straight outing. Pelfrey stumbled through five innings, gave up four runs, three earned, walked two and struck out only three. Pelfrey is now 5-3 on the season.

As for Sabathia, he was brilliant. C.C. dominated the Mets for seven innings giving up only three hits and a Gary Sheffield home run. Before the Sheffield homer in the fifth, Sabathia had four perfect innings on the Metropolitans, and it looked conceivable that the first ever no-hitter was to be thrown in Citi Field history and Subway Series history. Sabathia was on his A game all night.

The Yankees did tack on in the eighth, as Gardner drilled a solo shot to the right field corner to give the Yankees a 5-1 lead. Two batters later, Alex Rodriguez blasted a two run shot to the deepest part of the park, the 415 fence in right center field. It was A-Rod's 11th on the year, and second in as many days. Rodriguez has nine RBIs in the last three games to the delight of Yankee fans and his new gal pal, actress Kate Hudson, who was in attendance.

Box Score.

The only saving grace for the Mets is the fact that the Phillies, Marlins and Braves all lost tonight. That means the Mets remain a half a game out of first place in the NL East! It looks like the East is starting to turn into this year's version of the 2006 NL Central, which saw an 83 win St. Louis Cardinals team win the World Series. Don't give up hope Met fans, better yet don't dream too big either because, chances are, the Mets won't be so lucky.

Mets & Yankees Meet Up Again In Part II of Subway Series

The first time these two teams met each other two week ago, one of the dumbest plays in baseball history occurred when Louis Castillo dropped a sure game-winning pop up by Alex Rodriguez that would have given the Mets an 8-7 victory. Instead, the drop cost the Mets the game, as Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeria scored the tying and winning runs for the Bombers.

The rest of the series was a mess. Andy Pettitte was shelled by the beleaguered Mets lineup and Johan Santana was blasted by the powerful Yankee lineup to a tune of 15-0.

Now, the drawn out, and now boring series is set to start up again, this time at the Mets new home, Citi Field.

The Mets come into the series actually showing some grit. They took three of four from the St. Louis Cardinals, as the likes of Nick Evans, Fernando Martinez, Fernando Nieve, Alex Cora and Tim Redding found ways to beat up the red birds during the week. The Mets are just a game and a half out of first place in the NL East, and if they can take this series against the Yankees it could catapult them into July big time.

But don't expect the Mets to have similar success this weekend. They have only one legitimate threat in the lineup right now with David Wright, and even he has been struggling to drive in runs in crucial situations this year in spite of his .356 batting average. Also, the Mets do not have an advantage in the starting pitching department.

Mike Pelfrey starts tonight against C.C. Sabathia. Even though Sabathia has struggled at times this year, Pelfery has been unreliable this season for the Mets. He lasted only five and two-thirds against the Orioles before he was taken out, when Baltimore was threatening to have a big inning, and, in his last start against the Rays, Pelfery was shelled in the fourth inning.

Redding will start Saturday against A.J. Burnett. Burnett was brilliant in his last start against the Mets, throwing a four hit shutout over seven innings. Redding has been solid for the Mets, but eventually he will get shelled by somebody soon. Redding has a 6.08 ERA this year.

Sunday might be the only saving grace for the Mets. Livan Hernandez who has been outstanding this year with a 5-2 record and a solid 4.05 ERA. He will square off against Chein-Ming Wang, who is 0-6 this year and is still struggling to find himself this season.

The Yankees have had their issues as well lately. Before winning the final two games a series in Atlanta, the Yankees lost nine of their last 13 games, failing to hit in the clutch. Maybe the Atlanta series is a sign of things to come, after Alex Rodriguez lit up the Braves over the last two nights. A-Rod has had an awful year, hitting .223, but in the last two games he is hitting .500 with a home run and six RBI. If he heats up, it won't matter how big Citi Field plays, A-Rod will find a way to get the ball out of the yard.

It should be interesting to see how the Yankee bats handle Citi Field. They are used to the friendly confines of new Yankee Stadium, where a pop up to the outfield has a good chance of leaving the yard. In Citi Field, the deepest part of the park is right center measuring out to 415 feet from home plate. Look for the power happy Yankees to struggle a bit in this stadium. They will have to play small ball if they plan on winning two more games from the Mets this season.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Leetch & Lamoriello Make It To NHL Hall of Fame

There will be something to talk about next fall other than football.

Both the Rangers and Devils will have important members of their franchises' successes over the years inducted into the league's Hall of Fame on November 9. Story.

Brian Leetch helped lead the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup in 54 years during the 1994 season. He is also a winner of the Norris Trophy as the leagues' top defense man and had his number 9 retired this past season by the Rangers.

As for the Devils, the architect of what has become one of the most successful franchises in hockey will finally get honored. Lou Lamoriello, who has been the GM, and sometimes, on occasion, Head Coach of the Devils since 1987, was responsible for building a team that appeared in five Stanley Cup finals, winning three cups in 1995, 2000, and 2003.

Brett Hull and Steve Yzerman will also be inducted into the Hall in November.

Livan: Fantastic, But Joel Pineiro: Great


Despite what one might say this outing with regard to the Mets injury situation, Livan Hernandez was brilliant again for the Metropolitans, holding the St. Louis Cardinals to three runs, two earned, over seven innings.

He found a way to get out of a bases-loaded jam in the third inning, forcing Rick Ankiel to pop out, after a short rain delay, to end the inning. He even made Albert Pujols look bad on a swinging strikeout from a nasty overhand curve ball.

Yet, the Met offense was nonexistent. Joel Pinerio, who has made a career of dominating the Mets, was again in full control, throwing a complete game, two hit, shutout. Pinerio never had to sweat this one since no one in the Mets' depleted lineup posed much of a threat all night long.

At the end of the day, Pinerio threw exactly 100 pitches, 62 for strikes on the night, improving his overall record to 6-8 with a dazzling 3.40 ERA. He has been better than his win/lose record indicates.

What was most intriguing about Pinerio's night, and the Mets ineptitude at the plate, was the fact that Hernandez was able to hold St. Louis to just one run heading into the seventh. He gave the Mets every opportunity to make a comeback on Pinerio, but it never happened.

Eventually, the Cards figured out Hernandez in the seventh. Brendan Ryan singled, Skip Schumaker doubled to the left field corner, and Chris Duncan walked. Finally, Pujols delivered a two run single into left to give St. Louis a 3-0 lead ending the game. Box Score.

The Mets are basically asking their starters to go out a pitch complete game no-hitters if they are to have a chance to win. Without Reyes, Delgado, Beltran, and a slumping David Wright, the Mets have no run production at all. Don't expect Met pitchers to get many more wins this year, especially if things do not improve on the offensive side of the diamond.

Chien-Ming Wang Is Still Wrong, Yankees Lose Again


Chien-Ming Wang must be the most frustrated man on the planet. In April, Wang was 0-4 with a ERA of 34.00. In May, Wang spent most of his time rehabilitating his game in the minors, was rushed back to the majors, and subsequently was compelled to come out of the bullpen in blowout games.

Ever since the Yankees have put Wang back in the rotation, they have shown little confidence in him. Tonight, Wang had one bad inning, a three run third that did him in hot Atlanta, bringing the cold starter and former ace to a lonely 0-6 record.

In the third, Wang struck out Tom Hanson and Nate McCloth with both of them looking at called strike three. Then, the bottom fell out. Yunel Escobar singled to left, stole second and advanced to third on a Jorge Posada throwing error.

Chipper Jones walked, and Brian McCann doubled to left center to drive home Escobar, making it 1-0 Braves. Garrett Anderson, who made a career of killing Yankee pitching while with the Anaheim Angles, doubled to right center to drive in Jones and McCann to give Atlanta a 3-0 lead.

Wang pitched in only two more innings having been removed after the fifth for Phil Hughes. Wang's final line: six innings of six hit ball, allowing three runs, while striking out four. He wasn't terrible, but he didn't do enough to win the game.

It didn't help matters that Hanson shut down the Yankee offense. Hanson was a little wild walking five in five and a third innings but found ways to work around each jam. The Yankees left 16 men on base, 10 in scoring position. Hanson is now 3-0 on the season for Atlanta. Box Score.

Wang deserves another shot to start, and he may have a very good chance to get that elusive first win of the year when he goes up against the depleted New York Mets on Sunday.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Beltran Will Be Latest Met To Hit The DL

Add Carlos Beltran to the Mets MIA list.

Beltran's ailing right knee has been giving him trouble all season long, so much so that he missed about a week in mid-May. Beltran's stats have been going down since the knee started giving him trouble, and it appears that the center fielder can no longer stand the pain.

The Mets will recall Fernando Martinez to replace Beltran in center field as early as tonight against the surging St. Louis Cardinals. The Mets are also bringing up reliever Pat Misch to replace the horribly inconsistent Ken Takahashi.

Donald Fehr Leaving Position As MLB Players Union Chief

One of the controversial figures in baseball's steroid scandal is about to exit stage right. Donald Fehr who has served as the chief of the MLB Players Union since 1985 will leave the position today. He will be replaced by general counsel Michael Wiener.

Fehr has taken a lot of flack over the last decade for turning a blind eye to the steroid scandal that wreaked havoc on baseball through the 1990's when stars such as Mark McGwuire, Roger Clemens, Rafeal Palemario, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds and more either tested positive for steroids or committed perjury in front of Congress and the world by denying their use of the drugs. ESPN source.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Cohen's Corner Sports Turns One Year Old Today

On this day, June 20, 2008 a new sports blog was created with the mission of providing in depth coverage of pro sports in the New York/New Jersey region.

We have seen plenty of memorable moments in year one from the Mets second September collapse, the Yankees failure to make it to the postseason for the first time in 13 years, Brett Favre's return to football with the New York Jets, the Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl XLIII title this past February, the firing of Eric Mangini and the hiring of Rex Ryan as the new Jets coach to Martin Brodeur's record 500th win as New Jersey Devils goalie.

It has been a wild ride. Since June 20, 2008, Cohen's Corner has branched out onto YouTube and Bleacher Report where readers can find either videos or in- depth columns on the hot topics in New York sports.

Thank you to all who have continued to be regular readers of this blog, and to those who continue to provide me with great feedback and support. I look forward to a really exciting second year.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Wicked Weather Could Derail U.S. Open...Again

After Thursday's washout at Bethpage Black on Long Island, things could get a lot worse for some of the nation's best golfers this weekend.

Golfers successfully completed the first round and part of the second round of the 2009 U.S. Open on Friday, with the rest of round two set to begin Saturday morning, but wicked weather is back on its way to the course.

According to this map: CLICK HERE, a huge storm is making its way through the Mdwest and is on track to hit New York and New Jersey throughout the day tomorrow. Yahoo weather is reporting scattered thunderstorms for tomorrow, rain on Sunday and guess what, more rain on Monday.

This is bad news for Bethpage. They are hoping to complete the second round tomorrow, with round three Sunday, and maybe the finale Monday afternoon.

So far, Lucas Glover is the leader; he shot a 69 in round one and was -5 under par through 13 holes in the second round, before play was stopped because of twilight. Phil Mickelson, who has been the story of the tournament because of his wife's battle with breast cancer, is struggling after getting off to a fast start Friday.

At one point, Mickelson was one shot from the lead through the first 12 holes of round one but slipped big time the rest of the day. Mickelson shot a 69 in the first round, but is even par through 11 holes in the second round. He is five shots behind Glover for the lead and tied for 11th place. LEADER BOARD.

As for Tiger Woods, the tournament has been a nightmare. First, he had to play through six holes in the rain on Thursday, causing him to shoot +4 over par. He really never recovered on Friday, taking the wet links at 7:30 in the morning. Woods finished at +4 over par and is tied in 66th place with a score of 74.
Woods is set to tee off at 1:36 tomorrow when the storm hits. He needs to do better in order to make the cut.

Andy Pettitte Beats Marlins With His Arm & His Bat


This win won't help Yankee fans forget Jorge Posada's ground out to then Florida Marlins ace Josh Beckett at the end of Game Six of the 2003 World Series, which the Marlins won at the old Yankee Stadium, but this one sure felt good.

With the Yankees stumbling and bumbling for more than a week, they got a much needed solid performance from ole' reliable Andy Pettitte. Pettitte made his first start at Dolphins Stadium since that very same World Series, and he was brilliant. Seven innings of three hit ball, walking none and striking out seven. He held the Marlins powerful hitters: Dan Uggla, Jeremy Hermida, Hanley Ramirez and Jorge Cantu to a combined 2 for 14, which equates to a .143 batting average.

The Yankees jumped all over Florida starter Sean White. Jorge Posada's single to right in the first inning brought home Derek Jeter to give the Bombers a 1-0 lead.

In the second, the Yankees broke it open. Angel Berroa, filling in for the struggling Alex Rodriguez at third base, doubled to the center field gap bringing in Robinson Cano to make it 2-0. Then, Pettitte added to his brilliant day's work by shocking everyone in the park, lining a double to left to drive in Berroa to make it 3-0.

Pettitte is a career .133 hitter and was a decent hitter during his renaissance period with the Houston Astros. In 2006 with Houston, Pettitte had 12 hits in 62 at bats with a home run and five RBIs. Tonight's RBI was Pettitte's 13th of his career. Pettitte's career stats.

The win gets the Yankees back to 10 games over .500 at 39-29. Box Score.

Mets Bullpen Regroups To Holds Off Rays


After a dreadful week in which the Mets played listless baseball in Baltimore thanks in part to leaks in the ship that is the so-called revamped bullpen, the Mets found a way to plug some of those leaks against the AL Champion Tampa Bay Rays.

For the second straight week, Fernando Nieve surprised the world with another fabulous pitching performance. Nieve went six innings, gave up three hits and a run to earn his second straight victory. Nieve is 2-0 with a 1.84 ERA as a replacement for the injured John Maine. Nieve has shown no fear going up against two of the better lineups in baseball, the Yankees and Rays. If he keeps it up, expect Nieve to take over the spot inhabited by the awful combo of Oliver Perez and Tim Redding.

The Mets got on the board early in this one to support the right hander. Brian Schneider, of all people, blasted a three-run home run into the bullpen in right center field to give New York a 3-0 lead in the first inning.

In the third inning, the Mets continued to pound Rays starter Andy Sonnenstein. Alex Cora and Daniel Murphy led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Two batters later, David Wright doubled to right to drive in Cora to give the Mets a 4-0 lead.

But as has been the case with the Mets over the past couple of weeks, the bullpen almost blew it. Bobby Parnell got ripped apart by the Rays when Jason Bartlett singled to left to move Gabe Gross to second; Duaner Navarro's sacrifice fly moved Gross to third to make things really complicated for the young Parnell. Finally, B.J. Upton doubled into the left field corner to drive in Gross and Bartlett to cut the Mets lead to 4-3. Upton advanced to third because Fernando Tatis was extremely slow in moving into the left field corner to retrieve the ball.

Then the Mets did something they never do lately: tack runs on! Ryan Church's single to center was good enough to drive in Carlos Beltran who was initially attempting a steal of third base. The extra run was enough for Francisco Rodriguez. K-Rod bounced back from his horrible performance against the Orioles on Thursday, recording a 1,2,3 ninth against the Rays. Box Score.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Plaxico Burress Has Court Date Pushed Back; Are Jets In Horizon?

The strange case of Plaxico Burress' illegal gun possession charges dating from November continues its twists and turns.

First, Burress wouldn't accept several plea deals that could have reduced a possible sentence; now Judge Felicia Menin pushed back the trial to September 23, meaning that Burress could explore the possibility of signing with an NFL franchise.

However, there are still other legal obstacles in the way. The NFL is expected to lay down a severe suspension for his conduct that could cost him at least four games at the start of the season. There is precedent for this; the NFL suspended Michael Vick before his trial once word got out about his organizing a dog fighting ring from his home.

The New York Jets are one of the few teams that have expressed a great deal of interest in Burress. The club is in dire need of a wide receiver with the ability to stretch the field and make tough catches in the corner of the end zone.

Once the trial commences on September 23, it could get really interesting, especially if Burress is allowed to play with an NFL team. The receiver is still facing the likelihood of 3 1/2 years in prison for possessing an illegal weapon. If he is sentenced this fall, it will end his time with any franchise; instead he will be spending the holidays behind bars.

Right now, he has pleaded not guilty and is free on $100,000 bail. Story.

Brett Favre Seriously Considering Comeback

Joe Buck, you now have a hit variety show on HBO. Buck's first guest on the new HBO sports series, was Brett Favre, and the former Jet and Packer did little to dissuade people from believing that he will be making another comeback later this summer.

Buck asked the quarterback point blank, "Will you come back to play again?" Favre responded by pausing and saying, "Maybe. If it ever gets to the point it feels like it did before it started hurting, then the biggest question mark is out of the way.”

Favre told Buck that he prefers to play with the Vikings since he is very familiar with their style of offense. Vikings head coach Brad Childress once worked for the Packers many years ago before moving on to Philadelphia as an offensive coordinator and then on to Minnesota two years ago to coach the Vikings.

More important, Favre got clearance from Dr. James Andrews, who repaired his torn bicep, that it would take just a few weeks before he could start throwing the football again. Favre had the surgery performed almost three weeks ago hetold Buck earlier this eveningon his HBO show.

It looks like it is only a matter of time before Favre signs on the dotted line to play for the Minnesota Vikings. He will have two things going for him when he gets to Vikings camp:
1) He will get to play with the best running back in the league in Adrian Peterson. Peterson had 1,760 yards rushing last fall and is good enough to become the next 2,000 yard rusher. With Peterson behind him, Favre won't have too much pressure on himself to make the big throws down the field.

2) Favre will play nine games in a dome (8 in Minnesota, 1 in Detroit). Other than the torn bicep, one problem for Favre last season with the Jets was throwing into the winds of Giants Stadium. That might have contributed to his throwing a ton of interceptions in December. This season Favre will play home games in the Metrodome where he won't have to worry about throwing into any winds.

Subway Series Recap. A Look Back At A Wild Weekend

Here are three videos where Michael looks back at this past weekend's Subway Series between the New York Mets and New York Yankees. It was a wild weekend from Luis Castillo's drop to Fernando Nieve's suprising start on Saturday to K-Rod vs. Brian Bruney and Johan Santana's poor effort in a 15-0 loss on Sunday.

Michael goes over the infamous ninth inning from Friday night in which Luis Castillo dropped an easy pop up.

Michael questions the Mets heart, looking back at all of their mental and physical mistakes this seaoson.

Michael looks at the bizarre war of words between Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez and Yankees reliever Brian Bruney.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Mets Rebound From "Castillo's Drop"


Today the Mets used both hands to catch fly balls. Less than 24 hours after the infamous Castillo Drop, the Mets rebounded from their worst loss of the year to win a game that no one would have predicted that they would win.

On paper, Andy Pettitte vs. Fernando Nieve seemed like such a mismatch that Met fans would have been better off spending their Saturday afternoon at home. Well, that is why they play the game.

Nieve shocked the world, pitching six and two-thirds innings, frustrating the Yankee bats for the entire afternoon, surrendering only two runs on four hits. Yesterday, the Yankees blasted out four homers; today, they had only one. Nieve kept the Bombers in the ball park, showing good command on his pitches and throwing as fast as 95 mph; the Yankees never had a clue about what was coming from the former Houston Astro. Nieve's effort might be good enough to earn him another start next week with John Maine on the 15 DL.

Offensively, the Mets continued to smack around Yankee pitching. Pettitte had little command on the afternoon, giving up 12 hits and five runs in just five innings. In the second inning, Pettitte walked Fernando Tatis, then served up a two run blast to Omir Santos, giving the Mets a 2-0 lead.

Fast forward to the fifth, the Mets started to put this baby to bed. Carlos Beltran singled and David Wright doubled to lead off the inning. Gary Sheffield continued to beat up his former team with a single into the right field gap to drive in Beltran to extend the lead to 3-1. Later, Santos doubled off of the right field wall, thanks in part to Melky Cabrera's miscue in the outfield. Fernando Tatis scored to make it 5-1 Metropolitans.

Finally, Sheffield put the exclamation point on this affair by hitting his second home run of the series, this one to the bleachers in left field to give the Mets a 6-1 lead. Box Score.

K-Rod got through the ninth inning without anymore extracurricular activities going on around him to end the game. The Mets now turn to Johan Santana with the hope of earning a series win, in spite of Friday's blow up.

As for the Yankees, they have issues. For the second straight day a starter failed to go longer than five innings. The Yankee bullpen has been overused the last two days, and they will need A.J. Burrnett to give them some length on Sunday or they are in big trouble. In Burnett's last start, he got shelled by the Red Sox, lasting only two and two-thirds innings.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Castillo Costs Mets Golden Opportunity, Error Erases Chance At Victory Over Yankees


From the Mets standpoint, this is one of the worst losses of the season. For the Yankees, it doesn't matter; it all counts the same in the win column.

The Mets had three different comebacks against the Yankees tonight, held an 8-7 lead heading into the ninth inning with closer Francisco Rodriguez on the mound to close it out. Rodriguez got Brett Gardner to foul out to the catcher, gave up a single to Derek Jeter and struck out Johnny Damon.

Then it got interesting. After falling behind 3-0 to Mark Teixeria, Jerry Manuel decided to give the slugger the intentional pass in order to get to Alex Rodriguez who was 1 for 14 against K-Rod. K-Rod fell behind 3-0 to A-Rod, got a strike on him, and then served up a easy pop up to second.

But it wasn't so easy. Luis Castillo appeared to stumble as he moved backwards into the outfield, lost the ball in the night, and dropped the ball once it landed in his glove. Jeter scored the tying run, and Teixeria scored the game winning run before the throw home could even get to catcher Omir Santos.

This will likely lead up to a week's worth of criticism for Castillo who should have somehow found a way to get both hands on the ball. There should also be some criticism for outfielder Ryan Church for not moving in to help Castillo out, in case the drop happened. It did, and it cost the Mets the game.

The game was wild all night long. The Yankees had four home runs on the night: a solo shot by Robinson Cano, a solo shot by Jeter, a two run blast by Teixeria and a three run homer by Hideki Matsui to give the Yankees a 7-6 lead in the sixth inning.

Gary Sheffield had a huge night for the Mets. His two run blast into the upper deck gave the Mets a 6-3 lead in the fifth inning. David Wright had what could have been the game winning hit, lining a double into the gap off Mariano Rivera to bring home Carlos Beltran to give the Mets a 8-7 lead in the eighth.

There's little joy in Flushing tonight.

Box Score.

Yankees & Mets Limp Into 2009 Subway Series

Talk about ugly. The past week for the Yankees and Mets could not have been uglier, creating such a stench that it is now overshadowing the drawn out, seemingly boring Subway Series for this weekend.

To say that this series is big for both teams is a bit of an understatement. Both the Yankees and the Mets need to win this series, or panic could begin to set in.

After getting swept by the Red Sox, it is clear that Boston is in the Yankees head, or at least in the heads of Yankee fans. The Bombers are now a stunning 0-8 versus Boston this year, and all eight games haven't been close.

If the Yankees can take one thing away from the series in Boston it is three things:
1) The Yankee offense is still one of the best in baseball. Mark Teixeria is having an MVP type of year with 19 home runs, 52 RBI and a .289 batting average. Ever since A-Rod returned to lineup in May, Teixeria has been in the middle of every single Yankee rally; without him, the Yankees offense clearly would suffer. Furthermore, Teixeria could have a big weekend against the Mets. He is a lifetime .366 hitter with 4 homers and 19 RBI against the Kings from Queens.

Add to the fact that Johnny Damon (13 homers, 35 RBI), Melkey Cabrera (6 homers, 24 RBI), Robinson Cano (9 homers, 35 RBI) and Nick Swisher (12 homers, 35 RBI) have all enjoyed big seasons as the understudies for the Bombers. It certainly helps an offense when their home ballpark is bandbox, but these guys have hit well on the road this season.

2) Starting pitching: The Yankees still have a deep rotation with Andy Pettitte, C.C. Sabathia, Joba Chamberlain and A.J. Burnett. All four can make up for problems at the back end of the rotation and in the bullpen.

Speaking of that back end of the rotation; there is some serious concern about Chien-Ming Wang. Wang has been awful this year. He is 0-4 with a 14.34 ERA, and has not pitched more than three innings in a game this season. If Wang continues to struggle, then Phil Hughes will get another look, but he has not been great.

3) No Competition. Outside of the Red Sox, and maybe maybe the Toronto Blue Jays, the rest of the American League stinks to the high heavens. The Tigers are barely over .500 in the Central, with the Twins, Indians, White Sox and Royals all under .500 and struggling to find consistency.

Out West, the Rangers have surprised many with a four game lead over the Angles, but does anyone really believe that the Rangers can win with guys like Vicente Padilla, Scott Feldman and Kevin Millwood as their top three starters? I don't think so. Meanwhile, the Angles are at .500 and are beginning to show their age with Vladimir Gurrero and Gary Matthews Jr. struggling. In other words, if the Yankees don't win the AL East, they will likely be the wild card at the end of the day.

As for those New York Metropolitians, the drums of mourning are heard in the far away distance. Call it injuries to top players, i.e. Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado, John Maine, Ryan Church, Carlos Beltran, et al. Fact remains, however, that even with a makeshift lineup, nothing has changed for the Mets; they are still a heartless ball club.

In their embarrassing series loss to the Phillies, in each game, the Mets held 3-0 leads only to watch the Phillies storm back to take the lead for good. How did the Mets respond? Well, they went away quietly into the night without any clutch hitting.
In Wednesday's meltdown the Mets had only two base hits in the game's final five innings. The Phillies, meanwhile, got a gigantic three-run homer from Raul Ibanez to win the game in the 11th inning. Talk about clutch.

In Tuesday's disgrace, the Mets made about a dozen fielding errors to blow a 4-0 lead. In the end, Chase Utley came away the hero with a solo home run in the 10th to win it for Philadelphia, 5-4.

The Mets are a joke. As much as Met fans want to deny it and ignore it, this club never hits in the clutch. They have no heart, and it doesn't help matters when their manager, Jerry Manuel, quotes Rich Kottite and Art Howe after the game by saying, "We battled."

The losses to the Phillies are not just losses, they are examples of a three year run of futility for the Mets, stark reminders of promises broken, and dreams shattered. The losses to the Phillies bring back memories of game seven NLCS 2006; bring back the memories of seven up with 17 to play in September 2007; bring back the memories of the Marlins dancing around the field in the final game ever at Shea Stadium in September of 2008.

How do the Mets react to these moments? They shrug it off. Hey, it's just baseball. Don't tell that to the Yankees who will likely come out like a team possessed this weekend as they try to forget their previous humiliating week. For the Mets, it's just baseball, and if they don't care, why should Met fans care?


GAME ONE: YANKEES 7, METS 3. Livan Hernandez has horrible numbers against the Yankees, and it won't get any better tonight.

GAME TWO: YANKEES 18, METS 1. It doesn't matter if the Mets pitched John Maine, or Bozo the clown, the Yankee bats will be smoking all afternoon long.

GAME THREE: METS 5, YANKEES 4. I will give the Mets one since Johan Santana is on the mound against A.J. Burnett who has been struggling lately. But a Yankee sweep would not be surprising.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Oh The Embarrassment! Yankees 0-8 VS. Red Sox


There was a line in The Godfather Part III when Al Pacino said, "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!" Well, just when the Yankees thought they were going to leave Boston with one victory in their back pocket, the Red Sox pulled it away from them.

Ever since Boston's historic comeback against the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS, the Yankees have lost their swagger when playing this team, and this season it is very present, as the Yankees now stand at 0-8 against Boston. And there is still 11 games left to play against the Red Sox in the second half of the year.

Even though C.C. Sabathia gave up a David Ortiz home run early in the game, the Yankee ace did enough to win, but didn't receive any run support until the seventh inning. In that inning, Francisco Cervelli doubled to left to drive in Melky Cabrera to tie the game at one. Later, Alex Rodriguez, finally produced a clutch hit against the Red Sox, stroking a double off of the Green Monster to drive in Johnny Damon and Cervelli to give the Bombers a stunning 3-1 lead.

With the lead, and considering how dominant Sabathia had been through the games first seven innings, it appeared that this baby was over. Well not so fast.

Nick Green led off the eighth inning with a single to left, and Dustin Pedroia walked to set up the comeback. J.D. Drew singled to center to drive home Green to get Boston to within in one 3-2. At this point, Joe Girardi had no choice but to take out Sabathia in favor of Alfredo Aceves, and that too blew up in Giradri's face.

Kevin Youklis singled to right, Jason Bay singled to left to drive in Pedroia to tie the game. Finally, Mike Lowell's sacrifice fly brought home Drew to give Boston a 4-3 lead.

Jonathan Papelbon took care of the Bombers 1,2, 3 in the ninth to end the game, and send the Bombers home shaken and stirred for another rendition of the drawn out Subway Series, set to begin tomorrow night.

Mets Put Forth Another Heartless Effort Against Phillies


The weather today felt like late September/early October, and the way this series went against the Philadelphia Phillies, it might as well have been late September/early October.

Yes, it is only June, there is still 2/3 of the season left to play, but the Mets effort, or lack thereof should make many wonder if this season is beginning to slip away from this team.

For the second straight night, the Mets grabbed the early lead and watched the Phillies storm back with clutch hitting, clutch pitching and clutch defense to win 6-3 and take two out of three in this series.

Things began to fall apart in the sixth inning, and for the second straight night, Chase Utley was front and center. Utley's double to right off of Tim Redding, brought home Jimmy Rollins to cut the Mets lead to 3-2. Finally in the seventh, Matt Stairs followed two hits by Pedro Feliz and Chris Coste with an RBI ground out to tie the game at three.

The Phillies are the definition of clutch. They chip away, and chip away, getting into their heads of their opponents and killing them in the end. From the sixth inning through the tenth inning, the Mets offense mustered only two hits. Not exactly something you expect from a team that needs to be clutch at the most crucial points in the game.

In the tenth, with Ken Takahashi on the mound for the Mets, Raul Ibanez blasted a three run home run to the deepest part of the park at the 415 fence in right-center field. The homer gave the Phillies a 6-3 lead. The shell shocked Mets did nothing in the bottom of the tenth against new Phillies closer Ryan Madson, going away quietly into the night.

The Mets are now four games behind the Phillies, and it could only get worse this weekend when the Mets drive down to the Bronx to play a very angry Yankee team that is trying to forget a bad week in Boston.

Jets Week At Florham Park A Success

Throughout the week, the New York Jets opened their beautiful training camp facility in Flohram Park New Jersey to the public; after spending the past three days there, I can tell you it was a outright success.

Monday evening, the club welcomed returning and new members of their Flight Crew Cheerleader squad. The Cheerleaders introduced themselves on a stage set up near Jets Fest in the facility parking lot. Afterwards, they signed autographs for fans.

On Tuesday afternoon over 900 people came to watch the Jets afternoon practice. The club lined people down the sideline of their field turf practice field, with nothing but tiny billboards separating the players and fans. Fans were only seven yards away from the players, and they could hear every word players said to each other, as well as commands and instructions coming from the coaches.

The event was so fan friendly that kicker Jay Feeley decided to walk through the crowd to get to the other practice field to work out, and tight end coach Mike Devlin decided to call on a young fan of only five or six years to come onto the practice field and help him set up the running bridge for tight ends. Devlin even gave some pointers to the youngest to the delight of the fans.

On Wednesday, the practice was much more formal. Because of the huge crowd the Jets had to cordon off all three practice fields with a mesh fence, as the team used the grass practice fields for the 4:10 workout. The team went through two different scrimmages, and so far it appears that Kellen Clemens has the edge at the starting quarterback job.

Clemens was sharp in 11 on 11 drills hitting a couple of receivers down the sideline, and even threading the needle to Jericho Cotchery in between three defenders. Mark Sanchez, on the other hand, struggled to pick up the Jets violent and confusing blitzes, but when given the time Sanchez showed off his rocket arm.

It looks like Rex Ryan is delivering on his promise to field one of the NFL's top defenses. He moved around players, like Kris Jenkins from nose tackle to defensive end, Bart Scott from inside linebacker to outside linebacker, and even Shaun Ellis from defensive end to the outside. This created a lot of confusion for both Clemens and Sanchez, who spent most of their time running for their respective lives. The Jets secondary was extremely physical in bump and run coverage with their receiving counterparts, knocking away passes, and even getting away with a couple of pass interference calls.

One site to behold on Wednesday was the appearance of Ryan's father, Buddy Ryan, the legendary coach who invented the 46 Defense that spearheaded the Chicago Bears Super Bowl run in 1985. The elder Ryan spent each of the mini camps days with his son.

The number of people who came to Florham Park on Wednesday was not revealed, but it had to be close to 2,000. Now, Gang Green will move up to Cortland for training camp, for what Ryan claims will be all about "team bonding." The Jets will return to New Jersey, permanently on August 22, and practices will be open to the public for a couple of days.

Photos courtesy of Michael R. Cohen.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Yankees Fail At Comeback Attempt In Bean Town


Boston just isn't a good place to be these days for the Yankees. In spite of another horrendous effort by Chien-Ming Wang, the Yankees still had a chance to pull out the upset tonight, but just couldn't do anything with the bats against the Red Sox vaunted bullpen.

The Red Sox clobbered Wang for four runs on six hits in just two and two-thirds innings. In the second inning, Wang surrendered a run scoring double to George Kottaras to give Boston a 2-1 lead. Who is George Kottaras? Who knows, but tonight Kottaras made a name for himself against the struggling Yankee starter.

Next, a guy you have heard of, Dustin Pedroia, the reigning AL MVP, hit a ground rule double to right to drive in Kottaras to give Boston a 3-1 lead.

Finally, in the third, Mike Lowell blasted a solo shot over the Green Monster to extend the Red Sox lead to 4-1. That was it for Wang who was pulled for Phil Hughes. Hughes didn't fare much better, giving up two more runs in relief.

Tim Wakefield had a decent outing for Boston, allowing only three runs on eight hits over six innings. The 43-year-old knuckle ball pitcher is now 8-3 for Boston this season. The Yankees tried to get back into the game, once Wakefield left for the showers. Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeria hit back-to-back home runs off Ramon Ramirez to cut the Sox lead to one, 6-5. Box Score.

But, that was all the Yankees were getting. Hideki Okajima pitched an inning and a third of no-hit ball, and Jonathan Papelbon pitched a solid ninth inning to earn his 15th save of the season. The Yankees will try to take at least one in Boston tomorrow when they send ace C.C. Sabathia to the mound. The Bombers are now a shocking 0-7 against the Sox this season. Can you say: "Who's Your Daddy?"

Jets Ink Mark Sanchez To Five Year Deal

There will be no rookie holdout this year in the NFL for one of the league's top draft picks. Mark Sanchez has signed a five year deal worth $50 million, with $28 million guaranteed, with the New York Jets.

"Obviously, I'm thankful to the Jets and the organization here. ... but this is just the beginning and that comes with a lot of responsibility, just like being the quarterback here. And I'll be working every day on and off the field to justify this contract," said Sanchez of the contract, which was published on NewYorkJets.com.

Sanchez will have to battle out Kellen Clemens for the teams starting job.
So far, after personally viewing two mini-camps during Jets Week at Florham Park, Sanchez has looked over-matched by the Jets 46 Defense. He is having trouble reading the multiple blitzes that have been coming his way. As for Clemens, he has looked extremely sharp in 11 on 11 drills. More later on the Jets mini camps.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Big Papi: Back With A Vengance; Red Sox Nip Yankees


This is not good news. The Yankees, who came into tonight's crucial series with the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park, are now an unacceptable 0-6 versus the Red Sox this season. In a stretch were the Yankees have won 19 of 25 games before tonight, and clearly the hottest team in baseball, the Yanks suffered one heck of a cool down thanks to David "Big Papi" Ortiz and Josh Beckett.

Ortiz who has had a horrific season, batting .197 with two homers and 22 RBI, but he finally showed a pulse this season when he ripped a two run home run to wild corner where the stands meet the Green Monster in center field to give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead.

A.J. Burnett just didn't have it for the Yankees; after the Ortiz homer, he walked Mark Kotsay, and allowed Nick Green to reach on a fielder's choice, thanks to an error by Dr. Choke, A.K.A. Alex Rodriguez. Two batters later, J.D. Drew doubled to left to drive in both Kotsay and Green to give Boston a 4-0 lead.

In the third, Burnett's control problems continued. He walked Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek, allowed Kotsay to single to center, and finally surrendered a double to Green to drive in Lowell with the fifth run of the night. That was it for Burnett who was pulled out after two and two-thirds. He struck out one and walked five in the effort; his ERA rose to 4.89.

As for Burnett's former Florida Marlin teammate Beckett, he was fantastic as usual. Beckett gave up only one hit in six innings, striking out eight . He is now 7-2 on the season with a 3.77 ERA.

Nick Green, who had a huge night for the Sox, capped it off with a solo home run to left, giving Boston a 7-0 lead. The Red Sox have now tied the Yankees for first place in the AL East with the victory.

Citi Field Becomes Home Run Paradise, Mets Win Big Game


Citi Field is supposed to be a pitcher's park; right? Well, not tonight. The stadium that has drawn a lot of complaints because of the depth of center field, right center and right center, was home to seven home runs on the night between the Mets and Phillies.

The home run party started in the second inning when David Wright broke his long string of homerless games by blasting his fourth of the year just over the 16 foot wall in left to give the Mets a 1-0 lead. Then, in the third, Carlos Beltran belted a two run shot to infamous right center field fence to give the Metroplitans a 3-0 lead.

Usually a 3-0 lead is more than enough for Johan Santana, but not tonight. After serving up three scoreless innings, Santana got bombed by the powerful Phillies lineup. Ryan Howard led off the fourth inning with a solo shot to the bullpens in right center to cut the Mets lead to 3-1. Raul Ibanez followed with solo homer of his own to right, just above the Modell's sign to cut the Mets lead to one run, 3-2.

In the sixth, Jimmy Rollins blasted a two run shot to left to give the Phillies a stunning 4-3 lead. The Phillies are second in the NL in come-back victories with 18, so it should come as no surprise that the Phils could do this. What was shocking: the fact that Santana never had it. He struck out only two batters and gave up four home runs, the most he has given up in a game in two years.

Still, Santana found a way to play hero ... with his bat. With Ryan Church and Omir Santos already on base, the Phillies expected Santana to bunt with only one out. Santana showed bunt, but pulled the bat back, swung, hit, and drove the ball down the right field line, moving Church home to tie the game at four. Two batters later, Alex Cora singled up the middle to drive in Santos with the go-ahead run.

The Mets got some insurance in the bottom of the seventh when Ryan Church hit his first home run since coming off the DL, this one to straight away center with the ball landing inside of the Mets Apple!! It was Church's first RBI since April 27.

But, it didn't get any easier for Santana; he gave up a solo home run to Chase Utley to start the eighth, and was pulled from the game, albeit reluctantly. Pedro Feliciano was able to induce a double play by Howard, and a ground out to second by Ibanez to end the threat and preserve the lead.

Finally, K-Rod closed down the show with a strike out of Gregg Dobbs to earn his 16th straight save of this season. The Mets are now 31-25, and two games behind the Phillies for first in the NL East. Box Score.

Vikings Deadline On Favre May Be False

According to Pat Kerwin of NFL.com and the NFL Network, the Minnesota Vikings have not placed a one week deadline for Brett Favre to make a final determination about whether he will play this year.

Kerwin suspects that the Vikings will wait until August for Favre to make a decision, since they desperately want to have him on the team.

This could be the dumbest move the Vikings have ever made in their history. It was pretty obvious down the stretch that Favre didn't have anything left in the tank, even with the torn bicep. He threw nine interceptions in the final five weeks of the year, and his fastball was greatly diminished.

If the Vikings think that by bringing Favre in they are flexing their muscles to the Green Bay Packers, they should think again. I am sure, at this point, the Packers could care less about Brett Favre.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Yankees Now Best In American League


This is starting to shape up into a really special season for the new look New York Yankees.

Unlike recent years, where the Yankees counted on their gigantic wallet and talent to beat opponents, only to realize that they lacked the heart to get back to the World Series, this Yankee team has a passion, a drive, and a desire to succeed. Call it a love for the game that no one has seen from the Bombers at least since their World Series days in the late 1990's.

In April, people panicked after the Yankees stumbled out of the gate because of A-Rod's off the field distractions, and poor play from expensive new comers in C.C. Sabathia and Mark Teixeria. But now, that seems like eons ago. The Yankees, 34-23, now own the best record in the American League. They have rolled over the competition in the AL, and right now look like the only legitimate pennant contender in that league.

Tonight, the Bronx Bombers found a way to fight off the pesky and injured Tampa Bay Rays to take two of three in the rain shortened weekend series.

The Yankees got on the board early, thanks to Teixeria's 18th home run of the year to give the Bombers a 1-0 lead. Then, in the second inning, Nick Swisher, who has been struggling with his bat of late, struggled no more after he blasted a two run home run to right to make it 3-0. Swisher went 2 for 3 on the night to raise his average to .257.

Andy Pettitte was decent tonight; he gave up three runs on five hits over six innings and left the game still with a chance to win it. Box Score.

In the bottom of the sixth, Johnny Damon got enough of a 2-1 pitch to send the ball into the very short porch in right center to give the Yankees a 4-3 lead. Derek Jeter put the exclamation point on the night after he blasted a solo shot in the eighth to make it 5-3. There were seven home runs hit tonight at new Yankees Stadium, giving the park 107 home runs in just 29 games! Talk about a band box!!

Mariano Rivera closed it down for his 14th save of the year. The Yankees now lead the Red Sox by a full game and now travel to Boston to play what should be a incredible three game series.

Favre Has Authroscopic Surgery On Torn Tendon

Once it was announced that Brett Favre had arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn biceps tendon in his right arm, everyone went crazy, speculating that the former MVP is readying himself for another comeback.

ESPN originally reported that the quarterback had the surgery in May to repair the tendons that cost him and the New York Jets any shot of making it to the postseason. Story.

The Vikings continue to deny that they have any interest in Favre, stating the party line that they are happy with Sage Rosenfels and Travris Jackson. Still people think that the good ole number four will be in purple and gold in September.

I find this hard to believe. At this point in the year, it is late for Favre to have surgery and expect to be ready to go when August rolls around. That means a 40-year-old man would have only two months or less to recover from the surgery completely, before he throws a football. That is not going to happen.

If Favre had the surgery in February, than the chance of a comeback would have been more likely. It takes time to heal from surgery on a torn bicep, and for a quarterback like Favre, if he wants to return, the last thing he wants to do is risk the chance of tearing the tendon again without it totally healed up.

If Favre returns, maybe, maybe, maybe it would be a mid season addition, where Favre spends September and October training with the Vikings in order to build his arm strength back up. Last June, Favre was throwing the ball at a Mississippi high school, making it clear that he was ready to return. As far as anyone knows Favre is not throwing right now, and there is no idea when he will.

If Favre doesn't return to the field this season, then this speculation will have to come to a end; otherwise we are talking about a 41-year-old man making a comeback in 2010, after more than a year away from the game.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Livan Hernandez Masters Nats Once Again


Although this outing does not exactly make up for the past week, it certainly is a start for the New York Metropolitans who are desperate for wins right now.

Livan Hernandez continues his wonderfully surprising season, shutting down the Nationals offense for the second time in two weeks. Hernandez went seven innings of four hit ball, as well as inducing two double plays in the effort. Hernandez improves to 5-1 with a 3.88 ERA; clearly, he has become the second best pitcher on the Mets right now.

Offensively, the Mets got everything Hernandez needed in the first inning. After Alex Cora walked to lead off the ball game, Fernando Martinez doubled to left to drive in Cora, giving the Mets a 1-0 lead. Later, Martinez scored on a wild pitch by Nationals starter Chris Stammen to make it 2-0. Dan Murphy's single to left drove in David Wright to make it 3-0. Ryan Church doubled in his first game back from the disabled list to move Murphy to third, and Brian Schneider's sacrifice fly brought home Murphy to make it 4-0. Finally, Church came into score on another wild pitch by Stammen to give the Mets a commanding 5-0 lead.

The Mets improve to 30-25 to keep pace with the surging Philadelphia Phillies, whom they will face this week. Box Score.

Yankees Take Advantage of Ray Mistakes


The kings of comeback were at it again Sunday in the Bronx. In spite of another mediocre outing by Joba Chamberlain, the Yankees rescued themselves from certain defeat to win in the final innings.

The Rays had built up a 3-1 lead behind Matt Garza, who went only five innings, and, for sure, Rays manager Joe Madden is kicking himself that Garza couldn't go any longer. Grant Balfour fell on his face in the eighth inning, surrendering three runs and the ball game. With one out in the bottom of the eighth, Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeria had back-to-back singles to set things up for Alex Rodriguez. Rodgriguez walked to bring up Robinson Cano.

J.P. Howell came into to pitch in relief of Balfour, and he didn't fare any better. He walked Cano to bring home Damon, cutting the Rays lead to 3-2. Next, Jorge Posada reached first base on a fielder's choice, thanks to a fielding error by Willie Aybar. Teixeria scored to tie the game. Finally, Hideki Matsui's fielder's choice brought home A-Rod with the go-ahead run.

Mariano Rivera bounced back from his horrific outing on Saturday to shut down the Rays for his 13th save of the year. Box Score.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Nightmare Road Trip Continues For N.Y. Mets


The road trip from Hell continued Saturday night for the New York Mets; they fell to the Washington Nationals 7-1 in a fast-moving affair that lasted under two hours.

In fact, this game was decided after 15 minutes. John Maine had nothing for the Metropolitans since he was smacked around pretty hard for seven runs on six hits. It was Maine's worst start of the season.

Nick Johnson tortured Maine all night. In the first inning, he lined a double off of the scoreboard in right field, narrowly missing a home run. Ryan Zimmerman drove Johnson in with a single to left center to give the Nats a quick 1-0 lead. Then, Adam Dunn, who hit the longest home run in Citi Field history over a week ago, hit one into bleachers in right field to give the Nationals a 3-0 lead.

In the bottom of the fourth, the game went from the sublime to the absolutely ridiculous. With Luis Castillo on first, Emil Brown (that's right Emil Brown!?!?!)skied to deep right. Elijah Dukes tried to make a dive for the ball, but he trapped it with his glove. While sitting on his back, Dukes threw the ball back into the infield to the cut-off man, first baseman Nick Johnson.

At this moment, Luis Castillo ran back to first base, thinking that Dukes had originally caught the ball. Brown, thinking the ball fell in for a hit, ran right past Castillo. Brown was called out for passing the runner on base, and Castillo was tagged out at second for misreading the ball. It was total case of the Keystone Cops, but then again, the Mets are the Keystone Cops.

Finally, in the fifth, Johnson put the kibosh on this night, when he blasted a three run home run to right to give the Nationals a 7-0 lead. Johnson who is rumored to be traded to the Mets at some point this season, certainly put on a show. He went 3 for 4 with 3 RBI and a home run.

The Mets are now 1-4 on this road trip against the garbage of the National League in the Pirates and Nationals. Not exactly what the doctor ordered before the team is to play the Phillies and Yankees in the coming week. Box Score.