Friday, October 30, 2009

Burnett Propels Yankees Past Pedro & Phillies

YANKEES 3
PHILLIES 1

Pedro Martinez proved that he still had something left, and sent a parting shot across town to the Mets, who refused to sign the veteran this year, by holding the Yankees down through six innings of Thursday night's game two; however, the righty wasn't as good as A.J. Burnett.

Burnett shut down the mighty Phillies. He pitched seven dominant innings, giving up only four hits and a run, while striking out nine Phils in his first ever World Series start. Burnett was one cool customer as he had his way with the outside corner of the plate all night long, frustrating the Philadelphia hitters.

As for Martinez, he was brilliant as well. He blew by the Yankee lineup for most of the evening and held a 1-0 lead heading into the fourth inning.

He struck out eight, and looked like the Pedro of old, who used to electrify Boston fans, and Met fans during the prime of his career. Even though Martinez lost the game, he sent a clear message to Mets GM Omar Minaya, that the embattled GM made, yet, another mistake in a year full of mistakes for the Mets.

Back to the here and now, Mark Tiexeria finally broke through his postseason struggles, blasting a long homer into the Yankee bullpen in right center to tie the game at one. In the sixth, Hideki Matsui lifted a curveball from Martinez, off of the ground, and into the seat in right field to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead.

The Yankees finally got to Martinez in the seventh when the put two on with no body out, before he was removed for another former Met in Chan Ho Park. Park, in typical Chan Ho Park fashion made things worse for the Phillies, by allowing Jorge Posada to line a single up the middle to bring in Brett Gardner to make it 3-1 Yankees.

Fast forward to the eighth, the Yankees bring in Mariano Rivera. Rivera gets the first out with a Carlos Ruiz ground out. Then it gets really interesting. Rivera walks Jimmy Rollins, and gives upa single to Shane Victorino to put two on with one out and Chase Utley and Ryan Howard waiting to bat. This is what baseball is all about: star power vs. star power.

Rivera won the battle this time around, forcing Utley to ground into a double play to end the threat. In the ninth, Rivera allowed Raul Ibanez to reach on a double with two out. Rivera then struck out the power swinging Matt Stairs to end the game, 3-1. Box score.

The series is tied 1-1. Cole Hamels will pitch for Philadelphia against Andy Pettitte.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cliff Lee Blows Away the Yankees in Game One

PHILLIES 6
YANKEES 1

So much for that great Yankee offense.

So much for the miracle comebacks.

So much for the dominance of C.C. Sabathia, the flaming bat of Alex Rodriguez, and the possibility that the Yankees would take it to the Phillies.

Instead it was Cliff Lee who mastered the Yankees, pitching a complete game six hitter, while striking out 10 Yankees. He was absolutely dominant in the effort, mowing right through the Yankees order like a knife through butter.

Lee never broke a sweat in the effort, making a lazy catch on the mound to record an out, and back-handing another out, as he spearheaded the defending world champions to a game one victory.

Lee's counterpart, C.C. Sabathia labored throughout the evening. In the first inning, Sabathia loaded the bases full of Phillies, before getting Raul Ibanez to ground out to second to end the Phillie threat.

That being said, Sabathia just didn't have it tonight. By the third inning he threw over 50 pitches, and by the time his night was over in the seventh, Sabathia threw 113. He was not good with his command, pitching to 3-2 counts for most of the night, and looked flustered with the strike zone.

The Phillies broke through in the third, when Chase Utley lifted a sinker and placed three rows deep over the right field wall to give Philadelphia a 1-0 lead.

In the sixth, Utley got into another Sabathia pitch, this one a fastball right down the middle, that Utley cracked deep into the bleachers in right to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead.

The Phillies would tack runs on in the eighth and ninth innings. Shane Victorino's single to right brought home Carlos Ruiz to make it 3-0. That was followed up by Ryan Howard's RBI double down the right field line to drive in Jimmy Rollins to make it 4-0 Phillies, all but ending this ball game. Box score.

The Phillies lead the best of seven series 1-0, and will look to Pedro Martinez tomorrow night against A.J. Burnett. The Yankees have to win this game if they have any intention of getting back into this series, otherwise it's lights out, especially with Cole Hamels and Lee looming for games three and four.

World Series Game One Lineups

Here are the likely lineups that we will see on display when the Yankees take on the Phillies in Game One of the World Series.

PHILLIES:
Jimmy Rollins SS
Shane Victorino CF
Chase Utley 2B
Ryan Howard 1B
Raul Ibanez DH
Jayson Werth RF
Pedro Feliz 3B
Carlos Ruiz C
Ben Francisco LF

Pitching: Cliff Lee

YANKEES:
Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Tiexeria 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Hideki Matsui DH
Jorge Posada C
Robinson Cano 2B
Melky Cabrera CF
Nick Swisher RF

Pitching: C.C. Sabathia

Yankee Reliever One of the Lowest Paid In Baseball

Here is an interesting story from Yahoo Sports about Yankee reliever Phil Coke. Apparently, the lefty is paid 1/80th of what Alex Rodriguez makes per year, and he comes from a very simple upbringing as a chimney sweep during the off season.

In an era where most baseball players do not work extra jobs to make cash, like they used to in the 1920's, 30's, 40's 50's and 60's, this story is very humbling and a fantastic read. Take a look, I highly recommend it. PHIL COKE STORY!

The Yankees will face the Phillies tonight in game one of the World Series; first pitch is at 7:57 ET on FOX.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Steve Phillips Canned By ESPN

On the heels of his torrid and crazy love affair with Brooke Hundely, former Mets GM Steve Phillips has been fired by ESPN.

The firing comes after the New York Post revealed the affair last week in a handful of explosive articles.

Phillips was fooling around with the small, unattractive 22 year-old woman for months, until Phillips decided to suddenly end it.

From that point on, Hundely started harassing Phillips' soon-to-be- ex wife Marni with phone calls and letters about their relationship. Hundely even became a Facebook friend of one of Phillips' sons, stalking him and asking him questions about the family.

YANKEES WIN AMERICAL LEAGUE PENNANT

YANKEES 5
ANGELS 2

Start spreading the news!

The Yankees are heading back to the World Series for the first time since 2003.

In a year full of memorable moments and games, the Yankees added to the memories with a 5-2 Game Six victory over the L.A. Angels of Anaheim to capture their 40th American League pennant and send the team to the Fall Classic, where they will meet the world champion Philadelphia Phillies.

With the Angels up 1-0 in the fourth, Angels starter Joe Suanders began to cough it up. He had been struggling with his control the whole night. In the second inning he loaded the bases full of Yankees but found a way out of it; this time he wasn't so lucky.

After walking Derek Jeter for the second straight time to load them up, Johnny Damon finally cashed in on some post season success, when he laced a single to left to drive in two runners to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead.

Two batters later, Saunders walked Alex Rodriguez to bring home another run to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead. Saunders was pulled out of the game at this point for Darren Oliver, who did a wonderful job in relief for Anaheim, pitching two and two-thirds scoreless innings.

Andy Pettitte was brilliant for New York. The veteran lefty went six and a third innings, scattering seven hits, while giving up only one run, and striking out six. With the win, Pettitte became the winningest pitcher in series clinching games, with five, and surpassed John Smoltz as for post season wins with 16.

Mariano Rivera came into the eighth for a six out save, and surrendered a run in the eighth to make it interesting. However, the Yankees were able to get a couple of more runs on the board thanks to RBI hits by Damon and Mark Tiexeria.

Rivera then closed the door in the ninth, striking out Gary Matthews Jr. swinging for the final out. Unlike most players who jump up and down after clinching ticket to the World Series, Rivera calmly pumped his fist, and gave his catcher Jorge Posada a big huge - as the two old veterans from the Yankees past championship days in the late 1990's were on their way back to the Fall Classic. Box Score.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Giant Disgrace! Big Blue Bobbles It Against Cards

CARDINALS 24
GIANTS 17


Now Giant fans can panic.

To quote Kevin Bacon in Animal House, "All is well!" "All is well!" while he is being stampeded by panic stricken people who know that things are not so good.

The Giants just didn't have it against he Cardinals, and laid a stinker at the Meadowlands, 24-17. Eli Manning was putrid, completing 19 of 37 passes for 243 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions, including a the game clincher for the Cards in the final minute of play. Overall, the Giants turned the ball over four different times on the night.


As for Arizona, they came out punch for punch with the Giants. Down 7-0,
Chris "Beanie" Wells took off for a 13 yard touchdown to tie the game at seven a piece. Once Big Blue grabbed a 14-7 lead, the Cardinals answered almost immediately. The Cards put together a five play 51 yard drive in the final minute before halftime to set up a Niel Rackers field goal to cut the deficit to four.

Then in the third quarter, the Cards took the lead for good. Tim Hightower's one yard run put Arizona on top 17-14. The Giants never answered. Manning threw an interception on the following possesion to set the Cardinals up at the Giants 20. From there Kurt Warner hit Jason Wright for the six yard touchdown to give Arizona a 24-14 lead.

The Giants had a chance to tie this game at 24, but Manning's final pass was intercepted by Antrel Rolle to end the game. Box score.

The Giants are now suffering. They have lost two straight games, and now face a stiff challenge, when the travel to Philadelphia next Sunday.

Jets Demolish Raiders, Lose Leon Washington

JETS 38
RAIDERS 0

This was exactly what the doctor ordered for frustrated Jets fans!

The Jets beat up and dominated the hapless Oakland Raiders 38-0 to end a horrific three game losing streak to improve to 4-3 on the season.

The victory, however, came at a heavy price. The Jets lost running back Leon Washington an fractured fibula. He was tackled awkwardly early in the game and had to be charted off the field with his left left wrapped up in a towel.


He will stay in Oakland California, and have the necessary surgery to repair the injury. He will likely miss the rest of the 2009 season.

The Jets also lost Shaun Ellis to an ankle, and Bart Scott to an ankle injury, but both were fine afterwords and should not miss any time.

The Jets took advantage of three Oakland turnovers in the first quarter to put this thing away. Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell was stripped of the football by Calvin Pace on the first play of the game to set up a first and goal for the Jets. A couple of plays later, Thomas Jones took it in for six with a one yard run.

Later, with Oakland driving, Russell threw a pick to Justin Leonhard, who ran all the way down to the Raiders four yard line. Mark Sanchez, who has struggled of late, took it in himself when he scurried in for the touchdown to give the Jets a 14-0 lead.

The last straw for Russell and the Raiders came on a bomb to the end zone by Russell that was picked off by Darrell Revis. Russell was removed from the game for Bruce Gradkowksi, who was not effective in relief.

With Leon Washington on the self, Iowa rookie Shaun Green took full advantage. He gashed the Raiders for 144 yards on 19 carries, including touchdown runs of eight and 33. Thomas Jones ran for 121, marking it the first time if five years that the Jets have had two backs rushing for over 100 yards in the same game. The Jets have rushed for over 600 yards in the last two weeks.

Sanchez struggled. He only threw 15 passes, and when given the opportunity to throw was very inconsistent in his passes. He didn't turn the ball over, but did fumble twice more, as his trouble holding the ball continues.

To top it off, Sanchez was seen eating a hot dog on the sideline when the score was 38-0. Talk about being bored. Box score.

The Jets improve to 4-3, and will get ready for a rematch with the Miami Dolphins at the Meadowlands on November 1.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Yankees Blow Huge Comeback & Lose To Angels

ANGELS 7
YANKEES 6

This was supposed to be a night of coronation of a new American League champion.

This was supposed the be the night when Yankee fans would run through the streets creating all kinds of celebratory havoc more than a week away from Mischief Night.

Instead, this was a night fit for mourning for the Bronx Bombers as the Yankees failed to match
the energy of the Angels early in the game, made a tremendous comeback in the seventh, and then frittered it away soon thereafter.

This one got away; the Angels beat the Yankees 7-6 to force a game six in the Bronx on Saturday night.

A.J. Burnett was not on his game in the first inning. The Angels pounded the inconsistent right hander for four runs on five hard hits. After a lead-off walk to Chone Figgins and a double by Bobby Abreu, Tori Hunter drilled a single to center to drive home Figgins and Abreu, making it 2-0 Halos.

Vladimir Guerrero's double to left center brought home Hunter to make it 3-0 Angels. Finally, Kendry Morales brought home Guerrero with a single to left center to give the Angels a commanding 4-0 lead.

John Lackey was brilliant for Los Angeles. He shut down the Bombers through the game's first six innings, striking out seven Bombers in the process. However, in the seventh inning, Lackey lost control. Melkey Cabrera doubled with one out to get things going. Lackey then went 3-2 on Jorge Posada, when a slider just missed the plate that would have been strike three. Lackey thought the ball had buckled Posada and grabbed the edge of the plate to strike him out, but the home plate umpire disagreed. Posada eventually walked.

Derek Jeter took a walk to load them up, but Lackey was fortunate to get Johnny Damon to fly out; second out. Mike Scioscia took an emotional Lackey from the game for Darren Oliver. On televison it was clear that Lackey didn't want to come out of the game, but Scioscia would have none of it and took his ace out. Big mistake.

Darren Oliver served up a fat pitch to the struggling Mark Tiexiera, who blooped a double off the the wall in left center to clear the bases to make it 4-3 Anaheim.

Alex Rodriguez was intentionally walked, and Hideki Matsui made the Angels pay, when he drilled a single past second base to drive in Tiexeria to tie the game at four. Kevin Jepsen relieved Oliver and proceeded to make matters worse. He gave up a stand-up triple to Robinson Cano to clear the bases, giving the Yankees the lead 6-4.

It appeared that the Yankee magic would reign yet again.

That was until the bottom of the seventh was played.

Burnett served up a single to Jeff Mathis, then walked Eric Aybar to make things pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty interesting.

Joe Girardi took Burnett out ... for Desemo Marte? The man with the nine ERA, Marte?

Marte did his part to screw things up. He gave up a run by allowing Bobby Abreu to ground out into an RBI to make it 6-5.

Girardi took Marte out for the more dependable Phil Hughes; however, Hughes was anything but reliable. He walked Hunter and gave up a seeing-eye single to Guerrero underneath the reach of Jeter to drive home Aybar, tying the game at six. Morales followed that up with a hard single to right to drive in Hunter with the go-ahead run to make it 7-6 Angels. Box Score.

The Yankees threatened in the top of the ninth after Angels closer Brian Fuentes loaded the bases and went to 3-2 on Nick Swisher. Swisher popped the ball up to Aybar who closed his glove on the baseball and did the anti-Louis Castillo, acutally holding onto the ball for the victory.

The Yankees will get another shot at closing out this series when they return to the Bronx on Saturday night with a 3-2 advantage in the series. The Yankees will pitch ole' reliable in Andy Pettitte, against Joe Saunders who has mastered the Yankees in his last two starts.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sabathia Leads Charge As Yankees Take Commanding 3-1 Series Lead

YANKEES 10
ANGELS 1

You can put this one in the books.

The New York Yankees hold a 3-1 series advantage over the suddenly struggling L.A. Angels of Anaheim, blowing away the halos, 10-1.

Led by the superb C.C. Sabathia, the Yankees took the lead and never looked back in this critical game four of the 2009 ALCS.

Sabathia pitching on three day's rest needed to give the Yankees bullpen some relief after the pen had been overused the past two games which
went a combined 24 innings.

Sabathia went eight brilliant innings allowing only five hits and a run, while striking out five. He threw only 101 pitches on the evening, quite economical when the Yankees needed him the most. Sabathia is now 3-0 in the postseason with a 1.19 ERA. Overall, he is 22-7 on the season.

Offensively, the Yankees got to former Mets prospect and former Devil Ray, Scott Kazmir, in the fourth inning when Robinson Cano reached on a fielders' choice to bring home a sliding Alex Rodriguez with the game's first run.

Melkey Cabrera's single drove in Jorge Posada and Robinson Cano to make it 3-0 Bombers.

In the fifth inning, the Yankees put this one away as Rodriguez blasted a two run shot to left, making it 5-0. Rodriguez continues to rake with the bat. He went 3 for 4 with two more RBIs. He has three homers and five RBIs and is hitting .375 in this series.

Johnny Damon put on his hitting gloves in the eighth when he lifted a two run shot over the right field scoreboard to make 7-1 Yankees. Box Score.

The Yankees hold a 3-1 lead and will look to A.J. Burnett on Thrusday to close this series out. If the Yankees should finish it off, they will make their first World Series appearance since 2003 when they were stung by the Florida Marlins in six games. The world champion Philadelphia Phillies might be waiting if they can finish off Joe Torre's Dodgers on Wednesday.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Yankees Blow Lead, and Lose Game Three

ANGELS 5
YANKEES 4
11 Innings


Here is a rarity; the Yankees actually blow a lead and lose a game.

For the first time in this postseason, the New York Yankees lost a ball game; this one a crucial game three that has allowed the Angels to pull back into the 2009 ALCS.

The Yankees built a 3-0 lead, thanks to three seperate home runs by Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Johnny Damon, only to watch Andy Pettitte fritter it away.

Pettitte surrendered a solo shot to Howie Kendrick to cut the lead to 3-1, and then in the sixth, served up a fat 2-2 pitch over the plate to Vladimir Gurrerro who parked the ball into the left center field stands to tie the game at three.

The Angels grabbed the lead in the seventh with a sacrifice fly by Macier Izturis to drive home Kendrick, making it 4-3, off reliever Joba Chamberlain.

Still, the Yankees brought their comeback shoes with them. Jorge Posada drilled a solo home run to center field to tie the game at four in the eighth inning. However, the Bombers disappeared in extra innings, failing to deliver a single hit in the 10th and 11th innings.

Then, in the 11th, the Angels got to Alfredo Aceves. The Yankees were able to get two out with Dave Robertson in that 11th inning, but Joe Girardi over managed and put the inconsistent Aceves in to pitch. Aceves gave up a single to Kendrick, and then a huge double to the left center field gap, driving home Kendrick with the game winning run.

The Angels now trail the Yankees 2-1 in the best of seven ALCS. Box Score.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Yankees Comeback To Win Classic Game 2 vs. Angels

YANKEES 4
ANGELS 3
13 Innings


This was as good as it gets.

It was a crucial game two in the American League Championship Series, and from the get-go, it was clear that neither team wanted to lose it.

Early on it appeared that the Yankees were ready to run away with this ball game. A 2-0 lead, and a dominating performance by A.J. Burnett through the game's first four innings, it appeared that the Angels would have no answer for the Yankees on a freezing night in the Bronx.

Then things changed.

After a Macier Izturis ground rule double to lead off the fifth inning, Erik Aybar singled to center to drive in Izturis to get Anaheim to within one, 2-1. From there Burnett lost control. He hit Chone Figgins in the foot to put him on, and walked Tori Hunter to load the bases for the always dangerous Vladimir Guerrero. Burnett delivered a wild pitch to Guerrero, allowing Aybar to score the tying run. Still with two running in scoring position, Guerrero failed to come through for Anaheim; he grounded out to end the inning.

Failing to cash in, became common place in this ball game, especially by the Angels. In the seventh, the Angels had the bases loaded again for Guerrero, and the former All Star struck out swinging to end the threat.

This spoiled a great outing by Joe Saunders who went seven innings, and struck out five for the Angels. Saunders baffled the Yankees in an eight inning victory back in September, and once again had the Yankees guessing all night long.

Fast forward to the tenth, and the Angels once again made a critical error that almost cost them the game. With Melky Cabrera on first, Jorge Posada grounded right to second. Figgins flipped the ball to Izturis, who never touched the bag at second to start a double play. He hovered over the bag, but never put his foot on it for the put out. Cabrera was safe.

Darren Oliver walked Derek Jeter intentionally, and somehow got out of it, by forcing Mark Teixeria to ground out to end the inning, killing a potential Yankee comeback.

In the 11th, the Angels took the lead, when Figgins drove home Gary Matthews Jr., who was walked by Alfredo Aceves to start the inning, with a single to give the Angels a 3-2 lead. The Angels dugout exploded, and it appeared that Anaheim might flip this series totally on its head.

Then A-Rod showed up.

Rodriguez blasted an opposite field home run to right off of Angels closer Brian Fuentes to lead off the inning to tie the game at three. The Yankees were back in the game.

Later, in the bottom of the 12th, A-Rod had his chance to win the game. With the bases loaded, and two out, Rodriguez popped up to shallow center field to end the Yankee threat and force a 13th inning.

After the Angles were put away by David Robertson in the 13th, the Yankees took control for good.

Jerry Hairston Jr. whom the Yankees acquired for practically nothing on the July 31st trade deadline from the Cincinnati Reds, led off with a single, after spending over five hours on the bench. Two batters later, Melky Cabrera grounded right to Figgins, who decided to turn and throw to Izturis at second, but the throw sailed past Izturis, allowing Hairston Jr. to come around to score the game winning run.

Afterwards Hairston Jr. got a pie in the face from game two starter, A.J. Burnett. Box Score.

NOTES: This was the longest LCS game since the Game Five of the 1999 NLCS between the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves. That was the memorable "Grand Slam Single" game by Robin Ventura. That game ran five hours and 46 minutes; tonight's Yankee game ran five hours and 49 minutes.

The Yankees are the only team with a undefeated record in this year's postseason.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Yankees Blow Away Angels To Take Game 1 of ALCS

YANKEES 4
ANGELS 1

The Yankee Express just keeps rolling along.

As they have all season. As they did in the divisional round of the playoffs, the Yankees dominated and won another ball game, this one coming against their playoff rival the Anaheim Angels to take a 1-0 lead in the best of seven ALCS.

C.C. Sabathia was brilliant yet again for the Bronx Bombers. Sabathia baffled the Angels offense for eight terrific innings, surrendering only four hits, while striking out seven Angel batters. Keep in mind, unlike Minnesota, the Angels are loaded with .300 hitters, so this effort by Sabathia was even more impressive than his first post season start. Sabathia has given up only two earned runs in 14 and two-thirds innings this postseason.

As for the Yankee offense, they got to John Lackey early. Derek Jeter led the bottom of the first with a single to right. Johnny Damon, who had a horrible series against the Twins, began anew with a single of his own to put two on with nobody out. Two batters later, Alex Rodriguez's sac fly drove home Jeter with the game's first run.

What contributed to the Angel defeat was three errors that cost the Angels a couple of runs.
Hideki Matsui dropped a RBI single of his own to drive home Damon to make it 2-0. Damon was able to score, when Erik Aybar lost the ball in the lights of Yankee Stadium, as the ball dropped in front of him, bringing home the runner.

In the fifth inning, Matsui doubled to left to bring home Damon again to make it 3-0. Alex Rodriguez who was also on base, tried to score, by running through the stop sign, but was eventually tagged out at home preventing him from scoring. His aggression didn't pay off.

In the sixth, with Melkey Cabrera on first base with a walk, a throwing error by Lackey allowed Cabrera to advance to second. Derek Jeter then singled up the middle, but Tori Hunter's fielding error allowed Cabrera to make the turn from third to home, and advanced Jeter to second.

Lackey went five and two-thirds, gave up nine hits and four runs, two earned, while walking three and striking out three.

Mariano Rivera sat down the Angles in the ninth to end the game in favor of New York.

Game two is set for tomorrow, with A.J. Burnett set to take the mound against Joe Saunders.

Chris Russo Returns To WFAN...For One Day

If you were listening to WFAN at 1:00 this afternoon, you were expecting the "Mike'd Up" jingle to come on the air, instead one heard a familiar sound. LISTEN HERE!

That's right Chris Mad Dog Russo returned to WFAN. For a one hour special, the Mike and the Mad Dog show was back on the air for the first time since June of 2008.

Russo is celebrating his 50th birthday, and co-host Mike Francesa thought it would be a good idea to bring Russo back for a reunion episode before Russo went on their air with his own program "the Mad Dog Show" on Sirius Satalitte Radio.

The pair joked about what has happened to them in the last 14 plus months since they hosted a show together, including the controversy from February in which Dog went on Howard Stern's show to compare his Super Bowl XLIII guest list to Francesa's.

Mike and Chris went on to analyize the ALCS between the Angles and Yankees, which begins tonight at the Stadium. It is not known whether this will be the last time Russo will appear on the FAN. Rumors swirled beforehand that Russo was thinking about returning to the FAN.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Just Horrible: Jets Gets Plastered By Dolphins

DOLPHINS 31
JETS 27


So much for that great start to the 2009 season.

For weeks the Jets have prided themselves on the superior play of their defense, but the horrific performance they put on display against the Dolphins showed the world that New York is not as good as many thought a couple of weeks ago.

The Dolphins ran all over the Jets with the Wild Cat offense. They put up 409 yards of total offense and seemed to churn out one first down after another after another, as the combination of Ronnie Brown, Chad Henne and Ricky Williams ripped apart the Jets defense. The Dolphins converted 9 of 14 third downs and put up 23 first downs in total on the night.

The tone was set early, when Miami took the opening drive 80 yards, eating up half of the quarter, which concluded with a Ronnie Brown touchdown to give Miami a 7-0 lead.

The Jets couldn't get any pressure on Henne all night long, as the second year pro, making only his second start, looked like a 10 year veteran. He completed 20 of 26 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns. Credit to the Dolphins offensive line for protecting Henne all night, as the Jets failed to even touch him.

As for the Jets offense, they showed some great promise with the additon of Braylon Edwards. Edwards made some fantastic catches, including a 34 yard catch near the goal line to get the Jets in position to take the lead. Thomas Jones took in from there with a one yard push to give New York a 20-17 lead.

Unfortunately for the Jets, they scored too quickly. The Dolphins got the ball and proceeded to ram it down the Jets' throats. Henne stood up in the pocket and made like Dan Marino hitting a Ted Ginn Jr. in stride for a 53 yard bomb to give Miami a 24-20 lead.

Later in the fourth quarter, the Jets cashed in on a phantom 49 yard pass interference call on Edwards to spot the ball at the Dolphins three yard line. Jones took it in for six to give the Jets a 27-24 lead; but, like earlier in the quarter, the Jets scored too quickly.

The Dolphins mixed and matched plays with the legs of Williams, Brown, and Pat White, along with the gun of Henne to drive right down the field in the final 5:12 to get to the goal line. On third and 16 at the Jets 16, Henne hit Greg Camerillo for 12 yards to get the ball to the Jets four. Three plays later, Brown took it from two yards out to give the Dolphins the walk off victory with only six seconds left in the game. Box Score.

Brown rushed for 74 yards and two touchdowns. He completed a 21 yard pass, and caught three passes for 14 yards. As for Williams, he gashed the Jets for 68 yards on the ground and 70 yards through the air.

That combo spoiled the debut of Edwards, who had five catches for 64 yards and a touchdown, making it clear that he is Sanchez's new favorite target.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Yankees Sweep Twins; Advance To ALCS

YANKEES 4
TWINS 1
The Yankee Express keeps rolling along.

For the first time in five years, the New York Yankees are going to participate in the American League Championship Series, after sweeping away the Minnestoa Twins 4-1 in game three of the ALDS.

The game started out as a pitching duel between Andy Pettitte, and former Yankee and hated enemy of Yankee fans, Carl Pavano. Yes, that's right Carl Pavano actually pitched, and pitched well.

The pair traded zeros through the games first five innings, as the Pavano struck out eight Yankees in that span, while Pettitte struck out five Twins.

Like they had in the first two games, the Twins were the ones who broke the ice. Joe Mauer's single to left field drove in Denard Span from second base to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead. But, that quickly evaporated as their previous two leads in games one and two.

In the top of the seventh, Alex Rodriguez took Pavano deep for a solo homerun to right field to tie the game at one. Two batters later, Jorge Posada smacked a homerun to left to give the Bronx Bombers a 2-1 lead. Posada would add to his big night with a key RBI single in the ninth inning off of Minnesota closer Joe Nathanto give New York a 3-1 advantage.

Robinson Cano followed the Posada single with a RBI single of his own to drive in A-Rod to make it 4-1.

That was more than enough for Mariano Rivera who went an inning a third, striking out two Twins to earn the save.

The Yankees will now prepare for a very difficult series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Angels have owned the Yankees in the playoffs in this decade, beating the Bombers in the 2002 and 2005 ALDS. Will 2009 be any different, or will it be the same? That is why they play the games.

Giants Roll Over Lost Raiders

GIANTS 44
RAIDERS 7

Eli Manning started this game after all, and they really didn't need him today. In fact, Manning got an early shower thanks to his efforts against the hapless Raiders.

The Giants put this game away early, taking the opening kickoff on a long 8:03 drive that culminated in a one yard touchdown run by Ahmad Bradshaw to give New York a 7-0 lead. Manning was 4 of 5 on the drive, completing short routes to his receivers, to lead the drive.

However, this game was all about Bradshaw. The third year pro, carried the ball 11 times for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Bradshaw's second touchdown came later in the first quarter, a 19 yard scamper to give Big Blue a 14-0 lead.

Jamarcus Russell and the Raiders were no match for the Giants defense. The Giants sacked Russell six times for a loss of 36 yards, and held the overrated first round 2008 draft choice to just 100 yards passing on the afternoon. The Giants even stuffed the Raiders pointless running attack; holding Michael Bush to just 37 yards and a TD, and Justin Fargas to 18 yards rushing. The Giants held Oakland to just six first downs, and 124 yards of total offense.

The only way Oakland could score in this game is if the Giants turned the ball over. Well on a punt, Sinorice Moss, fumbled a punt at the Giants 15. Michael Bush soon followed with a five yard touchdown to make it 28-7 Giants.

David Carr came in relief of Manning, late in the second quarter to keep the quarterback healthy for the Giants next game against the Saints. Carr did a fabulous job. In the third quarter after Oakland committed a 13 yard penalty, Carr dashed into the end zone of a 12 yard touchdown to give New York a 35-7 lead. Carr completed 9 of 14 passes for 90 yards, and did enough with Big Blue up big on the horrible Raiders.

The Giants improve to 5-0, and will now face a tough test for the first time this year, when the square off against the New Orleans Saints, next Sunday.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Oh, What A Night! A-Rod & Tiexeria Lead Yankee Comeback

YANKEES 4
TWINS 3
11 Innings


This is why they may be champions.

Over the years, the Yankee mystique that swirled around the cavernous old Yankee Stadium had disappeared after one horrific playoff loss after another. Tonight, the ghosts of Yankee Stadium past were alive and well, and the Yankees 52nd comeback of the year took center stage.

The Minnesota had their chance to put the Yankees into a vice and crush them, but each time the Twins bobbled their chances, allowing the Yankees to storm back to win the day.
Minnesota grabbed a 1-0 lead on a Brendon Harris triple in the sixth inning. With the way Nick Blackburn had been pitching through the games first five innings wherein he surrendered only one hit, it appeared that the Yankee luck might fall short on this night.

Think again.


Alex Rodriguez, who has been much maligned for his lack of clutch hitting, was nothing but a clutch superstar tonight. With Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon on base, Rodriguez picked up on a change up and dribbled the ball into shallow left to drive home Jeter with the tying run.

Then, the Twins took control in the eighth, knocking around Phil Hughes, the Yankees young and promising prospect pitcher. Nick Punto, of all people, lined a single to center field to drive former Met Carlos Gomez in to give the Twins a 2-1. Joe Giradri then decided to bring in Mariano Rivera into the game, down by one, and the decision came back to bite Girardi. Rivera gave up a single to Denard Span to dive in Harris with the Twins second run of the inning, and a 3-1 lead overall.

It appeared that the series was going to head back to Minnesota 1-1. The Yankees did nothing in the eighth inning, and, with Minnesota closer Joe Nathan who had nailed down 47 games during the regular season coming into the game, one would think it would be wise to pack up the snacks, the thermal seats and head home.

Big mistake. Mark Tiexeria lined a single to right to get things going. Then A-Rod, "Captain Choke" became "Captain Clutch"! Shazam! He crushed a two run shot to right center to tie the game, once again; 3-3.

Still, the Twins had more chances. With Desemio Marte and his 9.45 ERA on the mound for the Yankees, the Twins had a good opportunity to yank rug out from under the Yankee momentum. Joe Mauer drilled a pitch down the left field line; the ball hit inside fair territory and bounced up into the seats. A sure ground rule double, however, the left field umpire thought the ball had gone foul and so ruled it, forcing Mauer to take another pitch.

Mauer lined a single to center anyway, but any momentum the Twins would have gained from that double was erased. Jason Kubel singled to right to move Mauer to second, and Michael Cuddyer singled to center, loading the bases. With nobody out, and the bases loaded, the Twins had everything set for a big inning. Who cares about the missed double at this point; the runners were in position to score some runs.

Then, inexplicably, it fell apart for Minnesota. David Robertson came in to pitch for New York, and boy, did he get the job done. It was like ... kyrptonite!!

Delmon Young lined right into the glove of Teixeria for out number one. Light hitting Gomez lined into a fielder's choice for out number two. Two out, bases loaded, and nobody scoring for the Twins.
Finally, the pesky Harris lined a pitch deep to center field to kill the Twins threat, all but killing their chances of getting back into this series.

In the bottom of the 11th, Teixeria made quick work of Jose Mijares, lining a fastball into the first row of left field, near the 318 sign to give the Yankees a thrilling 4-3 victory. Box Score.

The mystique appeared to be back; the Yankees danced up and down at home plate celebrating a 2-0 series lead. Now the Yankees have a chance to sweep the series on Sunday against ex-mate Carl Pavano. Look for that to happen, as the Yankee magic seems to be back in vogue for good in 2009.

Cotchery Could Miss Game At Miami

This may explain the Jets motive to trade for Braylon Edwards.

Other than the obvious fact that Edwards will allow the Jets to open up their playbook, he may be the only receiver on the field for the Jets when they take the field on Monday night in Miami.

Jerricho Cotchery may miss the game on Monday due to a hamstring injury that held him out of practice Friday afternoon. Coach Rex Ryan said that there is a possibility that Cotchery could miss this week's game.

Cotchery has 23 receptions for 356 yards and a touchdown; without him, the Jets will not get the opportunity to see how their top two receivers help open up the offense. Without Cotchery, Edwards will attract a lot more double, even triple, coverage played.

Cotchery's injury will also hamper the running game, which has been stopped this year, because of the Jets lack of a lethal passing attack. Story.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Yankees Dominate Twins For First Postseason Win in Two Years

YANKEES 7
TWINS 2

This is more like it!

Unlike Octobers past, the Yankees shook off an early Twins 2-0 lead to come back and clobber Minnesota 7-2 in the Bronx on Wednesday night.

C.C. Sabathia, making his first postseason start for the Bombers, was sparkling. C.C. struggled early giving up five hits and two runs in his first three innings of work, but he settled down nicely to shut down Minnesota the rest of the way. His line: six and two-thirds innings, giving up eight hits, one earned run, while striking out eight. Sabathia rocked and rolled all night long, as he earned his 20th victory of the season.

Offensively, it was Mr. October himself; no, not Reggie Jackson but Derek Jeter who got the Yankees back into the ball game with a line drive/two run home run down the left field line to tie the game in the third. As has been the case all year, the Yankees once again found a way to come from behind to win.

The Yankees took the lead for good in the fourth when Nick Swisher drove in Robinson Cano to make it 3-2 Bombers. However, it was an unlikely October hero who came up clutch big time. With Jeter on first, Alex Rodriguez, yes, that's right, Alex Rodriguez drove home Jeter with a double into the left/center gap to give the Yankees a 4-2 lead, and all but ruining the evening for Twins pitcher Brian Duensing.

Hideki Matsui followed Rodriguez with a two run blast to center field, Matsui's 29th homer of the season to give the Yankees a commanding 6-2 lead.

The heroics were not over for A-Rod. Rodriguez laced a long single off the right field wall to drive in Jeter again to increase the Yankee lead to 7-2.

Phil Hughes, Phil Coke and Joba Chamberlain did a wonderful job in middle relief, before giving way to Mariano Rivera who shut the door for good on Minnesota. Box Score.

Jets Acquire Braylon Edwards From Browns

Months ago there was speculation that the Jets were interested in bringing in a big time wide receiver to the team; some suspected it might be Plaxico Burress, but that idea died when Burress was sentenced to jail soon thereafter.

As it so happens early this morning, the Jets finally got that number one wide receiver.

The Jets acquired Braylon Edwards from the Cleveland Browns for third receiver Chansi Stuckey and linebacker Jason Trusnik.

Edwards had fallen out of favor with Brown's coach Eric Mangini in Cleveland. He tried to trade him to the Giants during the spring, and after Edwards got into a bar fight earlier this week, that was the last straw for the Mangenius.

Now Edwards brings his 6'3" frame to Florham Park to become the Jets new number one receiver. He is, without a doubt, the tallest and best receiver the Jets have had since Keyshawn Johnson in 1999. Edwards has only 10 catches for 139 yards this year, but those figures should jump up quickly.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Minaya and Wilpon Make Excuses On WFAN

Mike Francesa invited Mets COO Jeff Wilpon, GM Omar Minaya, and front office executive Dave Howard to the WFAN studio in Astoria, Queens to talk about the problems that have surrounded the Mets throughout the 2009 season.

Earlier in the day, the Mets fired bench coach Sandy Alomar Sr. and first base coach Luis Alicea from their duites, or lack thereof from the team. They also reassigned third base coach Razor Shines and catching instructor Sandy Alomar Jr. to different roles for the 2010 season.

When they joined Francesa, Wilpon explained that there was "lack of communication" between the players, the Mets medical staff on the road, and the Hospital of Special Surgery, and that he will do everything in his power to improve the "communication" to avoid another season full of constant injuries. LISTEN TO INTERVIEW.

Francesa later asked Minaya about the Mets depleted minor league system. In typical swashbuckler fashion, Minaya claimed that his minor league system is excellent with some of the organization's better prospects rising through the ranks in single and double-A.

Minaya also defended his decision to bring back Jerry Manuel as manager, since he felt he had the ability to get the job done over the long term.

Francesa even asked Wilpon about the $400 million the Mets lost in the Bernie Madoff scandal, which Wilpon vehemently denied had any affect on the team moving forward toward 2010.

Either way take a listen for yourself in the link above.

Manning Has Inflamation In Right Foot

Eli Manning's right foot is suffering from Plantar Fasclitis, or inflammation of tissue in his foot, after he suffered a burised heel in Sunday's 27-16 victory in Kansas City, the Daily Record reports.

Manning is listed as day to day, and there is no reason to believe that Manning will not start against the Oakland Raiders next week at the Meadowlands. Manning has started 75 consecutive games since taking over for Kurt Warner in the 10th game of the 2004 season.

He once suffered a shoulder injury a couple of years ago and played through it, so expect Eli to be on the field next Sunday.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sanchez Stinks It Up In Superdome

SAINTS 24
JETS 10

So....How about dem Jets? Huh? Eh? Oh?

So much for the "brilliance" of Mark Sanchez, and the "incredible" and "unstoppable" play of the Jets as a football team. The Jets put together a vanilla, uninspired and mistake riddled effort in New Orlean as the Saints stomped on Gang Green to a tune of 24-10.

Sanchez was the big problem tonight, and the rookie looked...well...like a rookie. After, the Jets held New Orleans to just a field goal in the first quarter, Sanchez had the Jets in position to take a 7-3 lead; the offense moved the ball to the New Orleans 17 yard line. Sanchez dropped back and threw the ball right into the hands of saftey Darren Sharper who walked 98 yards for a touchdown to give New Orleans a 10-0 lead.

Later in the second quarter, the Saints had the football on the Jets goal line, but the Jets defense stepped up hugely, holding the Saints to zero yards inside the one yard line, forcing Drew Brees to throw two incompletions in the end zone to keep the Jets in the ball game.

Then, Sanchez decided it was a good idea to give the game away. He rolled right in the end zone, and was nearly sacked for a safety before he dropped the ball; it was recovered by Will Smith (not the actor) to give the Saints a 17-0 lead, all but ending this game before the sun had set.

Credit is due to the Jets defense. They held the Saints in check all day, keeping the Saints powerful offense out of the end zone until the final minutes of the fourth quarter. The Jets forced the Saints to turn the ball over on downs on two fourth and short opportunities and put good pressure on the mobile Brees.

They even kept the duo of Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush fairly well in check. They held Thomas to just 86 yards rushing and Bush to just 37 yards on the ground.

Still, the Jets were exposed badly in this game. Many feared before the season started that the Jets would not have enough offense to help out its solid defense, and that was the case today. Sanchez was awful, and it is clear that he still doesn't understand the importance of protecting the football. Sanchez threw three interceptions on the day, a new career high; he looked totally uncomfortable in reading the Saints heavy blitz packages.

Meanwhile, the Jets ground attack continues to stink it up. Thomas Jones and Leon Washington were ineffective once again; no wonder the Jets won't give these guys new contracts. Jones had only 48 yards on 13 carries with a touchdown, but he continues to run like a man through cement. Meanwhile, Washington was limited in his opportunities. He had only four carries for 17 yards on the day.

The Jets fall to 3-1 on the season and are looking like a team that will be nothing more than a mediocre 9-7 / 8-8 squad this year.

Manning Injured In Giants Victory In K.C.

GIANTS 27
CHIEFS 16


When a team's quarterback leaves the game with an injury, the outcome of the game usually becomes moot. Sure, the Giants dominated the hapless Kansas City Chiefs 27-16, and certainly the Giants D looked awesome against the Chiefs' miserable offense, but the G-Men have to be concerned after Eli Manning left the game late in the third quarter with what is being called a "bruised heel."

Manning dropped back to throw, and suddenly lept into the air in pain. He heaved the ball down field incomplete and fell forward onto his stomach, reaching back to his foot. Manning was able to get up on his own power and completed a 54 yard touchdown to Hakeem Nicks on a hook and lateral play, with Nicks doing most of the dirty work by sprinting down the sideline.

Manning limped off the field and never returned. He was seen on the bench with his foot being heavily bandaged by the medical staff. It is still unknown as to the severity of the injury.

If it is severe, it will add to a laundry list of injuries that have plagued the Giants this year; luckily for Big Blue, the injuries have not played a role in deciding ball games.

The Giants welcomed back Derrick Dockery and Michael Boley to the lineup. Boley had a big afternoon with a sack and two passes defensed. The Giants D held the Chiefs to 193 yards of offense as quarterback Matt Cassel struggled with his control all afternoon, overthrowing receivers consistently.

Steve Smith had a huge afternoon for the Giants. He is quickly becoming Manning's favorite target; he recorded 11 receptions for 134 yards and two touchdowns.

The Giants are now 4-0 and will welcome the Raiders into Giants Stadium next Sunday. Box Score.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

What Await Yankees In October? An Opportunity Of A Lifetime

Okay, New York Yankees; you now have the best record in baseball; you have 50 come-from-behind victories; you have a clubhouse full of likable players who seem to enjoy playing with and for each other, and, beginning next week, what does it all mean? Absolutely nothing.

Not to take anything away from the fabulous season that the Yankees have put together this year, they have been the best team in baseball since the beginning of June and have looked poised and determined to win their 27th World Championship this season, but, as all baseball afficianadoes know, October can be the cruelest month.

The Yankees have not won a World Series since 2000 when they beat the Mets in five games, and since that time, they have suffered one playoff disaster after another. There was the bloop single by Luis Gonzalez in the 2001 World Series that gave the Arizona Diamondbacks the trophy in game seven. There was the uncompetitive effort against the Angels in 2002. The shocking six game loss to the Florida Marlins and Josh Beckett in the 2003 World Series; who knew that Beckett would eventually become a Yankee killer a few years later in Boston.

Then, as we all know, there was the choke in 2004. A 3-0 series lead over the Boston Red Sox erased by Curt Shilling's bloody sock, Johnny Damon's long hair, and the big bat and the faster feet of Dave Roberts that led Boston back from the dead in seven games.

2005 was a rerun of 2002; another lackluster effort against the Angels; 2006 saw the revenge of Kenny Rogers, as he danced on top of the Detroit Tigers dugout after they slayed the Yankees in four games. Finally, in 2007, gnats and Indian bats demolished the Yankees in the divisional round yet again.

It has been one failure after another for a franchise that will fire even the water boy if it should come to pass that the Yankees should fail to win a game at any point in the season.

2009, on surface, appears to be different. Unlike past years where the clubhouse has been tighter than a drum, the players are loose and fancy free. They care about each other, play hard for one another, and back each other up if one should stumble. A.J. Burnett's "pie-in-the-face" schtick at whoever drives in the winning run, has played a big role in keeping things on an even keel in the clubhouse.

Nick Swisher's happy-go-lucky personality and Mark Teixeria's excellent leadership are other key factors creating a fresh environment in the Yankee clubhouse. This team believes that they can win no matter what the deficit, no matter where they are, no matter how gloomy and cold the night. 50 come-from-behind victories is testament to Yankee fortitude.

Therefore, credit is due to Joe Girardi.

He was the Manager of the Year a few years ago in Miami with the Marlins, and he should be a shoe-in for the honor again this year. Some will cynically look at the Yankees, and the $400 million they spent in the off-season on Burnett, Teixeira, and C.C. Sabathia and say that any manager could win with that Yankees roster.

Not the case.

It is not easy to manage a team full of all stars and overpriced players. Egos could easily raise its ugly hydra head at any moment, and players could easily care more about personal statistics instead of the concept of "team." Girardi has kept this outfit level headed all year by allowing players to be themselves. Last year, during spring training, he made his players play in a team pool tournament to create a sense of camaraderie, and it is now, in 2009, that his strategies are starting to pay off as the Yankees rock and roll into October.

That said, October is one big matzoh ball. It is one thing to play the Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles, and Oakland A's in July; it is quite another to play the Detroit Tigers, Anaheim Angels, and possibly, Joe Torre's Dodgers in the biting October air.

At this time next week, the Yankees will be 0-0, and questions will abound about how the Yankees veterans will handle October this time around. Can Alex Rodriguez get past his issues in the playoffs and just play relaxed baseball?

Will the Yankees get the C.C. Sabathia, who has won 55 games in the last three seasons? Or will they get the Sabathia who had two rather mediocre postseason starts in 2007 and 2008?

Will the Yankees get the dominant A.J. Burnett, who could easily pitch a no-hitter when he is on? Or will they get the Burnett who went through a terrible slump in July?

Will Mark Teixeira continue to torch pitchers in his first postseason under the big lights of N.Y.C., the way he did in the regular season?

Can Joba Chamberlain provide a couple of solid postseason outings, instead of imploding as he has at times this year?

These are all legitimate questions that will be answered when the Yankees and Tigers meet up in Yankee Stadium next week for the Divisional Series.

Over the years, the Yankees have not been as clutch in the postseason as in the glory years in the late 1990's. From 2002 - 2007, the Yankees always entered October with one of the best offenses in the league, but when it mattered the most, the bats went silent, particularly Alex Rodriguez' Louisville slugger, and Rodriguez became a sports talk radio punching bag for years.

Thus, Teixeira will be the biggest key to the Yankee offense this month. Teixeira has played in only four playoff games but owns a nice .467 batting average in October. If Teixeira can continue to rake the way he did throughout the year, it should definitely take a ton of pressure off Rodriguez, who has hit .133, .071, and .267, respectively, in his last three postseasons. A relaxed A-Rod means the Yankees should go very deep into October, so deep it could take them to Halloween!

Of course October is also all about pitching. The Yankees likely first round opponent, the Tigers, have some solid starting pitching. Justin Verlander, Jarrod Washburn, Rick Porcello, and Edwin Jackson is a solid rotation for any team with World Series aspirations. All four could match pitches with Sabathia, Burnett, Andy Pettitte and Chamberlain.

It will be imperative for the Yankee starters to out duel that foursome and get the game into the bullpens where the Yankees have a distinct and clear advantage over Detroit. Mariano Rivera vs. Fernando Rodney. Discussion over. The Yankees win the ninth inning battle, and maybe, maybe the series.

This is a golden opportunity for the Bronx Bombers. They have a chance to begin a new era of Yankee dominance that fans have not seen for a very long time. When watching this club in the latter innings through the regular season, it is hard not to believe that the Yankees will find a way to come back and win, and, like clockwork, the Yankees have found that yellow brick road to the glory of the Emeral City one night after another.

Does that make the 2009 Yankees as intimidating as the 1998 or 1999 Yankees? No, not yet. Those teams had the rings, the playoff experience, and the field knowledge that they had been there, done that when the lights were brightest in front of the biggest TV audiences.

The 2009 Yankees can get there; they can do that magic again.

They have the talent to bring back the intimidation that used to swirl around old Yankee Stadium during those radiant years. They can bring back the fear that used to exist in the back of the minds of their opponents, who would look at scoreboard and think about the possibility that the Yankees could come out of nowhere to win the game at the last minute.

This is their chance, their time, their golden opportunity. Unlike the past eight years, the Yankees have to seize the day.