Results tagged ‘ Greg Golson ’
The 2009 post-season was filled with questionable calls by umpires, an embarrassing situation at a time when the game is on a national stage. The 2010 tournament is only two days old, and already head-scratching work by the dudes in the black hats has stained the games.
We have only had four games and already two managers have been ejected for arguing calls at a time when umpires are instructed to be patient because so much is at stake in the playoffs. Actually, the heave-ho’s were justified since in each case the managers were griping over ball-strike calls, which they know is a no-no.
Rays manager Joe Maddon was tossed Thursday afternoon for complaining about a checked swing by Michael Young that was ruled a ball one pitch before the Rangers third baseman smacked a three-run home run. Maddon and the Rays were already sore about a phantom foul tip call on Carlos Pena from Game 1 that helped Cliff Lee get out of a bases-loaded jam. In the same at-bat, Pena appeared to have been hit by a pitch but was not awarded first base.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire also went wiggy Wednesday night over a Carl Pavano pitch to Yankees DH Lance Berkman on 1-2 that looked as if it had the inside corner for strike three. Plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt thought otherwise, and Berkman doubled in the go-ahead run on the next pitch. Gardenhire came out to talk to Pavano, but he really wanted to shout at Wendelstedt and paid the price with a seat in his office.
Just the night before, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera had to get a fifth out in his four-out save because a clean catch in right field by Greg Golson was ruled a trap by umpire Chris Guccione. Even the Twins had to shake their heads over that one as a reminder of how Joe Mauer got hosed out of a crucial double in last year’s ALDS at Yankee Stadium.
Let’s not hear about the intense scrutiny caused by HDTV technology. Plain eyesight showed that all these calls were wrong. Let’s just be grateful that none of these guys loused up Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay’s no-hitter.
Okay, now Yankees manager Joe Girardi can rest all the regulars he wants and not have to hear any questions about it. The American League East title is still the Yankees’ ultimate goal, but they have clinched a playoff spot, which is the first step.
Now it’s strictly between them and the Rays, who also clinched a post-season berth and remained a half-game ahead of the Yankees in first place, to determine the division championship. The Red Sox are officially out of the picture after having threatened to get back into the wild-card mix as recently as last Saturday night.
All year long, Girardi has said the Yankees and Tampa Bay would take this race down to the wire, so here they are. The Yankees placed their foot on the accelerator Sunday night by starting Phil Hughes over Dustin Moseley and overcoming a blown save opportunity by the normally invincible Mariano Rivera by returning the favor to Boston’s Jonathan Papelbon.
After hitting a pothole Monday night in Toronto, the Yankees rode the reliable left arm of AL Cy Young Award candidate CC Sabathia Tuesday night to win handily against the Blue Jays with Rivera returning to form by nailing down the final two outs.
An indication of how much the Yankees wanted to erase that magic number came in the third inning when Nick Swisher, who has whacked 28 home runs this season, laid down a sacrifice bunt that moved Derek Jeter to third base. The captain led off the inning with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch by Kyle Drabek. Swish’s bunt made it possible for Mark Teixeira to score Jeter with a fly ball.
Up by four runs in the ninth and with runners on first and second with none out, Brett Gardner bunted down the third base line for a single that loaded the bases. It led to a score on Greg Golson’s first career run batted in.
This was 1960s National League stuff. The Yankees were not going to rely on the long ball, not against a Toronto club that leads the majors in home runs. In fact, the Yankees did not have an RBI hit in the game. Their six runs were the result of three sacrifice flies (Teixeria, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano), a fielder’s choice (Jeter), an infield out (Golson) and a bases-loaded walk (Rodriguez).
Sabathia personified the staff ace with 8 1/3 innings of one-run, three-hit, eight-strikeout pitching to improve his record to 21-7 with a 3.18 ERA. Travis Snider’s 12th home run was the lone blemish. No other Blue Jays hitter got to second base until the ninth inning when Snider singled and Yunel Escobar walked. CC kept Juan Bautista in the yard for the first out before Girardi brought in Mo to finish it off.
Rivera had said last week that he didn’t think the Yankees would overdo it celebrating clinching a post-season berth. Wrong. The champagne and beer were spraying in the visitors’ clubhouse at Rogers Centre after the game. It was only a sip, however. The rest of the week will determine whether the Yankees will be able to gulp by taking the AL East title.
This is not the way the Yankees wanted to open another of those playoff previews that everybody is talking about. Of course, if the Yanks and Rays face each other in the post-season it would have to be in the American League Championship Series because Division Series opponents cannot come from the same division. That makes you wonder why they call the first round of the playoffs Division Series if, well, never mind.
Managers Joe Girardi of the Yankee and Joe Maddon of the Rays can talk all they want to about the importance of finishing first in the AL East to earn home-field advance through the ALCS, but the fact remains that what is most important is for your team to get into the post-season, and both of these teams pretty much have that locked.
Girardi was without two-thirds of his regular outfield Monday night at Tropicana Field because left fielder Brett Gardner and right fielder Nick Swisher had to be shelved. Gardner had an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) test on his aching right wrist that revealed no structural damage but recurring inflammation from an injury he sustained June 27 at Los Angeles when struck by a pitch from the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw. Gardner received a cortisone injection and could be unavailable for the series except possibly as a pinch runner, which may not be a good idea, either, because he often slides into bases hands first.
Swisher has been bothered by a sore left knee on and off for the past three weeks, mostly on the last few days, which is likely responsible for a 3-for-25 (.120) slide, albeit with a game-winning home run along the way. He will go the MRI route Tuesday and is also doubtful for the series except as a pinch hitter. Against Rays lefthander David Price, Girardi went with right-handed hitting Austin Kearns in left field and Greg Golson in right.
The manager also had to adjust his lineup and decided to move Robinson Cano into the 2-hole where Swisher has thrived much of the year. The best thing about Robbie hitting second is what it may mean to Derek Jeter, who led off the game with a single. Unfortunately, Cano then grounded into a double play.
The Yankees would be wise not to put such a premium on finishing first. The injuries are piling up, so the premium should be on getting healthy.
Some 3 ½ hours before the first pitch at Yankee Stadium Saturday was a scene right out of spring training under a bright sun. There were Yankees coaches standing around the cage and a collection of reporters rimming the wall along the area behind the plate. A pitcher was on the mound, and a hitter wielding a bat was at the plate. It is known as a simulated game, a staple in spring training.
In this case, however, the pitcher and hitter were a pair of perennial All-Stars, Andy Pettitte and Alex Rodriguez, and the guy calling balls and strikes from behind the batting cage was a Hall of Famer, Reggie Jackson.
My friend, John Rowe of the Bergen Record, leaned over and said to me, “You think a simulated game with the Kansas City Royals would draw this much attention?”
The session went well for both disabled players. Pettitte threw the equivalent of three innings for a total of 50 pitches and then went through a PFP (pitcher fielding position) session that also went without incident. ARod, who took some swings alternating with Ramiro Pena and Greg Golson, had the equivalent of 1-for-4 and was rung up on strikes once by Reggie.
“He had a Reggie strike zone,” Alex said later.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi was encouraged by both of his stars’ efforts.
On Pettitte, who is recovering from a left groin strain, Girardi said: “He let it go and threw all his pitches. I paid particularly close attention to his location. That’s the area that is most affected if a pitcher is favoring one leg on the lower part of his body, which Andy wasn’t doing.”
If Andy reports no physical problems, the next step would be another simulated game or an injury-rehabilitation assignment to the minors. There would be at least two of those types of sessions before he would pitch again in a major-league game.
“I felt good,” Rodriguez said. “Andy looked great. I’m glad I don’t have to face him every day.”
Alex added that he was most careful to avoid hitting anything back through the box. Pettitte pitched without a screen protecting him. Rodriguez recalled an incident in 2000 when he was with the Mariners and Jamie Moyer was hurt in a simulated game by a batted ball.
Rodriguez added that he needs to be cautious breaking from the batter’s box. Trainer Gene Monahan suggested he take a few choppy steps before pulling into full stride.
Since we are into the post-Sept. 1 extended-roster period, either player can be activated at any time, although A-Rod has to wait until Sunday to fulfill the 15-day disabled list period.
Nick Swisher’s left knee continues to be a health issue. He first hurt the knee by fouling a ball of it Aug. 25 at Toronto but returned two days later and played six games before he had to come out of Thursday night’s game. Swish was slated to bat second and play right field Saturday but was a late scratch. Marcus Thames, who was in the lineup originally as the designated hitter, started in right and Lance Berkman took over as the DH.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi made a 180-degree turn about his rotation Wednesday as he announced that Javier Vazquez would return to the starting unit Saturday against the Blue Jays. Just the night before, Girardi had said he would leave things as they are. He was just following the credo of managers that they reserve the right to change their minds.
Girardi may have held back his decision for several reasons, the most obvious being that he needed to talk first to Dustin Moseley, whose spot in the rotation Vazquez is taking. There is also a possibility that Girardi thought that he might have another pitcher coming. Rumors were rampant that the Yankees were on the verge of acquiring a starter with speculation centering on Dodgers lefthander Ted Lilly.
Later details Wednesday suggested that Los Angeles would hang on to Lilly, whose waiver claim reportedly was awarded to the Yankees, because the Dodgers doubted they could get prospects in return equal to the draft picks due them if Lilly becomes a free agent. Lilly, who pitched for the Yankees in 2001, ’01 and ’02, is 5-1 with a 3.29 ERA since going to the Dodgers July 31 with infielder Ryan Theriot from the Cubs in a trade for three minor leaguers.
Vazquez pitched well in two long relief outings (1-0, 2.00 ERA) in which he allowed two runs, four hits and two walks with eight strikeouts in nine innings. Vazquez credited a mechanical adjustment in his delivery suggested by pitching coach Dave Eiland with increased velocity on his fastball and a revival of his changeup.
With rosters expanding to 40 Sept. 1, Girardi has a few more players at his disposal. The Yankees recalled pitcher Jonathan Albaladejo and outfielder Greg Golson from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and signed SWB catcher Chad Moeller to a major league contract. To create roster space for Moeller, the Yankees transferred relief pitcher Damaso Marte to the 60-day disabled list. First baseman-designated hitter Lance Berkman was also reinstated from the DL.
The issue of extra players on rosters this time of year can be a thorny one. Some managers, particularly those on teams in contention, do not consider it fair that opponents going nowhere in the standings can have an effect on the race because of additional players with which their teams are unfamiliar.
“I understand you want to give young players exposure to the major leagues,” Girardi said. “But I think they should designate X amount of players for each game. That would make it fairer.”
The bad weather in Detroit has played havoc with some Yankees roster moves. But how about this: they actually replaced a pitcher on the roster with a position player. Righthander Alfredo Aceves, who has a bulging disk in his back, was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Yankees manager Joe Girardi felt the need for outfield depth rather than a 13th pitcher, so the Yankees recalled outfielder Greg Golson from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes Barre.
However, pitcher Jonathan Albaladejo was back at the team’s suburban Detroit hotel just in case the bullpen got overworked in the first game Wednesday at Comerica Park. Plans to bring up left-handed hitting first baseman Juan Miranda are on hold for now.
Johnny Damon was in left field for the Tigers in the day game. It was the 13th time in 33 games that Damon has played in the field, but the first time in eight games since April 23.
Girardi and the coaching staff passed the cell phone around and personally wished Hall of Famer Yogi Berra back home in Montclair, N.J., a happy 85th birthday.
If you happen to be on vacation in southern California during the last weekend in June, forget about catching one of the Yankees-Dodgers games at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers announced Wednesday that due to the velocity of sales of mini plans and season tickets, the inter-league games against the Yankees June 25-27 will not be available on an individual game basis. With an overwhelming volume of requests from current season ticket holders, the Dodgers will offer a limited number of tickets for the series against the Yankees to those existing season ticket holders, as is customary with Opening Day and the post-season. Fans would need to buy seven- or 21-game plans to have any chance at tickets for the Yankees series.
The saga of Athletics pitcher Dallas Braden continued Tuesday night with his appearance on CBS’ “Late Night With David Letterman” to read the Top 10 list. Braden, who pitched a perfect game against the Rays Sunday at Oakland, told Letterman that his beef with Alex Rodriguez running on the mound in the Yankees-A’s game April 22 was “on the back burner” and “has been taken care of,” whatever that means.
Appearing on a remote hookup from Rangers Ballpark at Arlington in Texas, Braden read the following Top 10 list of what he was thinking during his perfect game:
No. 10: Grandma’s right. Stick it, A-Rod.
No. 9: I did it! Oh crap, it’s only the 4th inning.
No. 8: Seriously, how cool a name is Dallas Braden?
No. 7: Now maybe Justin Bieber will notice me.
No. 6: I must not tell the world I’m Iron Man.
No. 5: This is something they can never take away from me. But for $50,000, you can have my glove.
No. 4: This next pitch, eyes closed.
No. 3: Even I’ve never heard of me.
No. 2: I should at least give up one hit so I don’t have to do Letterman.
No. 1: Maybe I can give Kate Hudson a call.