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New York Yankees: Super-Nova vs. Minnesota Twins Preview

In his first match-up, New York Yankees rookie pitcher Ivan Nova will take on the Minnesota Twins.

Technically, it is not Nova’s first time pitching in the Bronx, but it is his début as the official fourth starter in the 2011 pitching rotation.

Nova popped up mid-pennant race last season for seven starts; he posted a 1-2 record, a 4.50 ERA, striking out 26, over 42 innings pitched. He walked 17 batters and allowed 21 earn runs, but Nova’s overall performance wasn’t as bad as the stats make it seem. Still, the Nova from last year would not have been named as the Yankees fourth starter.

Nova improved from the experience and worked hard this off-season, as the pitcher that showed up in Spring Training was the Nova that won the job.

The game is at home and Yankee fans are hoping for a big performance from the 24-year-old in the Bronx, just like the Nova that posted a 1.80 ERA over 20 innings in Spring Training.

Nova did pitch one scoreless inning in relief against Minnesota last May.

The Yankees bats hit nine home-runs over the weekend, three from a typically April-slumping Mark Teixeira. The Yankees took two of three from the heavily loaded Detroit Tigers in their first season’s series; and even in the 10-7 loss, the Bombers were hitting as Jorge Posada went yard twice

As for the Twins, things haven’t been so smooth, dropping two of three to Toronto to avoid a sweep by winning on Sunday 4-3. It was closer Joe Nathan’s first save since 2009, but it was a little too close for comfort.

The Twins-nation has a major bone to pick or at least to break with the Yankees. Continue reading ‘New York Yankees: Super-Nova vs. Minnesota Twins Preview’ »

New York Yankees: The Not So Evil Empire

The media has always made the New York Yankees payroll a focal point for criticizing the franchise for, in truth, their generous wallets.

So, after reading the recent article by Ronald Blum of the NY Post about how Yankees Alex Rodriguez is earning a paycheck that is just shy of the entire payroll of the Kansas City Royals, it got me thinking.…

This topic is not anything new for Yankee fans or anyone for that matter, but just as the media thrives on reminding people why to resent the Yankees, fans like myself need to let you know the truth.

The fact is the Yankees reputation is based on famously over-paying players, that are undeserving and overrated. The Yankee haters claim they grab the best of whatever the current baseball market has to offer, and unfairly presenting individuals with monster contracts that are impossible to match or to decline.

This way of thinking made me feel sorry for the literally poor Royals, as their lack of success was being hampered by their own abilities to offer only petty paychecks. This makes it seem that what is just one player to the Yankees could be new life for the Royals.

So, are the Yankees to blame for this and are they worthy of this reputation?

Most definitely, but why is this such an ‘evil’ thing? The Yankees aren’t stealing or asking for handouts, and the owners are beyond generous in their efforts to give New York the best team they possibly can.

Now, back to Blum’s article.

Blum was not openly criticizing A-rod or the Yankees, it is a mere comparison of actual numbers. It also reminded everyone, like we could forget, how rich A-rod is and how much the Yankees spend.

Blum is stating proven facts, and it makes the Royals out like abandoned orphans who are doing the best with what they have.

Conveniently, Blum omitted some important facts that made me change my whole original thoughts.

Here is what was left out:

Blum’s article states:

Kansas City’s payroll was cut in half from $72.3 million at the start of 2010. The Royals traded Zach Greinke and Gil Meche retired. The Yankees, as usual, had the top payroll but dropped to $201.7 million from $206.3 million at the start of last season.

This explains the Royals payroll, which currently stands at $36.1 million.

What Blum forgot to mention was that after the 2010 season, the Royals received a revenue check for $32 million (or more). This check comes out of the wealthy pockets of teams like the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies, who each give up 34% profits so these lower market ball-clubs, like the Royals can have the funds to stay competitive.

According to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star, Forbes reported that the Royals are worth $351 million and that 2010 marked the seventh running year in a row the Royals have finished the season in the black (meaning the Royals were profitable). This was shocking, until I did some research on my own.

The Royals owner, David Glass the former President and Chief Executive Officer of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc is worth billions of dollars. Translation is that Glass could spend $50 million on his team without blinking an eye, but instead Glass makes a profit at the expense of giving Royals fans a non-contending team.

While running Wal-Mart, Glass was the anchor behind the company’s expansion. The methods and ethics used to obtain the success with Wal-Mark are horrific. Glass boasted the fact that Wal-Mart products were made in the USA, when the truth is they were coming out of sweat-shops in Asia. You can read his reactions when asked about by Dateline in this blurb called NAILED in TIME MAGAZINE.

This makes me feel even worse for Kansas City and the Royals fans because their beloved ball-club is at the hands of a greedy billionaire, whose priority is to add more zeros onto his billions.

In turn, this makes Blum’s article lose its creditability, as it is pointless without giving us all the facts. Unless, Blum was just taking a subtle jab to remind people why they should hate A-rod and the Yankees.

All Yankee fans can do is thank their lucky stars that the Steinbrenner family is so overly unselfish. Continue reading ‘New York Yankees: The Not So Evil Empire’ »

2011 Opening Day Temps Don’t Freeze Hot New York Yankees

Now that I have finally de-thawed after attending the coldest game of my life at Yankee Stadium, I can tell you that the New York Yankees looked good in their first win of the season.

Beating the Detroit Tigers to open the season 6-3 at home is the best way to start a season.

Let me tell you that Tiger line-up is frightening, with the new Miguel Cabrera sandwich of Magglio Ordonez and Victor Martinez. Cabrera drunk, sober or stoned really doesn’t matter because this guy can hit. Even after the numerous times I have been to a Tigers/Yankees game, Cabrera still amazes me with his natural talent.

Does it remind me of Robinson Cano?

Yes, but Cabrera is better, which is tough to proclaim considering Cano’s numbers but it is the truth.

In his first at-bat today against CC Sabathia, Cabrera hit a bullet of a line drive. Cabrera luckily only made to to first-base, which any in-shape player would have turned into a double.

Sabathia managed to get through six innings and the Yankees ace looked great.

After CC, the Yankees bullpen shutdown the Tigers bats Joba in the seventh, Soriano to Mariano in the eighth and ninth. This is a bullpen in charge, with dominance not seen in over a decade when Rivera was Garland’s set-up back in the mid-90’s.

What a nice weapon for skipper Joe Girardi to have in his pocket. If the bullpen stays healthy, Yankees starters can pitch six-inning games. Continue reading ‘2011 Opening Day Temps Don’t Freeze Hot New York Yankees’ »

New York Yankees: 2011 Opening Day And Bombers Are Good To Go

The New York Yankees are back in the Bronx, as baseball season is finally here.

Nothing is more exciting then a pitching duel to start a new season, where anything can happen and for one team it marks the start to their championship run.

Opening Day the Yankees will be hosting the Detroit Tigers, with ace CC Sabathia taking the mound against Tigers ace Justin Verlander.

Yankee Skipper Joe Girardi announced the starting line-up, which Mark Feinstein of the New York Daily News reports will be looking a tad different than the last two seasons on Opening Day.

Here is the batting order for the Bombers Opening Day Game on ESPN:

1.    Brett Gardner
2.    Derek Jeter
3.    Mark Teixeira
4.    Alex Rodriguez
5.    Robinson Cano
6.    Nick Swisher
7.    Jorge Posada
8.    Curtis Granderson
9.    Russell Martin

Jeter and Gardner will platoon as lead-off, which is what I suggested a few weeks back. Since Verlander is a lefty, Gardner will be first and the Captain will hit in the two-spot.

Let me just remind everyone that Jeter has hit in the #2 spot of the Yankees line-up for the majority of his career, with darn good success I must say.

This is a good move by Girardi, but I think throwing Granderson against some righties and keeping Jeter more regularly in such a familiar spot might prove to work as well.

There is plenty of time to smooth out all kinks with 162 games to go.

All I can say is, Welcome Home Yankees; and Welcome Back Baseball!!

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2011 MLB Team Preview: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Since the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim lost the 2009 ALCS to the New York Yankees, the ball-club has not been the one baseball fans were accustomed too.

Two sluggish off-seasons, sandwiching a missing 2010 post-season, which had only happened once before in the previous seven seasons, is not being taken lightly out in Los Angeles.

So, can the Angels take back the division they have owned for years? Or is the AL West heading into the post-Angels era?

Let’s take a look at the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim heading into the 2011 season.


From the moment 1B Kendry Morales jumped in celebration with his teammates to celebrate his walk-off homerun, things took a turn for the worst in Los Angeles. Morales spent the rest of 2010 on the DL with a broken leg and his absence showed how vital he was to the team’s success.

Morales is finally back. Maybe not at 100% yet, but Morales’ presence alone and at the plate is something that the Angels have clearly been missing.

The only move worthy of Halo headlines was trading catcher Mike Napoli, who happen to led the team in home-runs last year with 26. Napoli was sent to the Blue Jays for outfielder Vernon Wells. Wells had 31 home-runs, 44 doubles, 88 RBIs with a .273 batting average. Those are the numbers that made the Angels trade for Wells. I think he will have a great season, revived by a new city that actually likes baseball and a stadium where fans come to games.

The clear strength of the Angels is their starting rotation, as it is solid from one to five. The top trio led by ace Jered Weaver who in 2010 followed right behind King Felix’s 30 quality starts with 27, led the AL in strikeouts with 233, and posted the fifth best ERA with 3.01 over a total just shy of 225 innings pitched.

Weaver is followed by another ace in Dan Haran, who the Angels picked up in July of 2010. Haran struggled at first, but the stats over his first nine starts are not totally trustworthy because he got no run support. Haran last eight outings were terrific going 4-0, over eight starts, posting a whopping 1.70 ERA. That is the Haran, the All-Star ace that the Angels were looking for. Now the Halos have Haran for an entire season now.

The Angels #3 is Ervin Santana won 17 games in 2010, posting a 3.92 ERA and is another innings eater throwing for 222 in total. Santana is trailed by a solid Joel Pineiro and the only uncertainty is Scott Kazmir but the top four are so good that Kazmir just has to get by without imploding.


Bullpen additions Scott Downs and Hisanori Takahashi make this bullpen legit, which is a staple of all successful Scioscia teams. The problem is the Halos don’t have a closer and this tends to present a problem no matter the team. Scioscia is a known magician, as he is one of the best managers in the game and this might be his biggest test yet. Continue reading ‘2011 MLB Team Preview: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’ »

2011 MLB Team Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers

From an internal mess, to Manny being Manny, to key players hitting the DL, was reality for the 2010 Los Angeles Dodgers.

Talk about a ruff regular season, and then having to watch your bitter rivals win the World Series definitely put the icing on the cake for the Dodgers.

Overall, not a good year for such a talented ball-club, whose loyal fans show up game, after game, year after year. If anything the Dodger fans deserve better, and if that isn’t enough to motivate a team, last year should be.

The Dodgers are skilled enough to compete and this is the year to do it, but will they step it up? Let’s take a look at the Los Angeles Dodgers heading into 2011.


Even though skipper Joe Torre said goodbye last season, his timing couldn’t have been better to hand the reigns over to his most loyal employee Don Mattingly. Mattingly knows a thing or two about working hard, after spending his entire career in Yankee pinstripes and never playing in a World Series. Mattingly was a fearless player, an absolute role model and the definition of a true team player.

Growing up watching Mattingly, I can guarantee he will bring the same attitude to his role as the Dodgers skipper; and without question, the players will respond.

The Dodgers have a certifiable ace in lefty Clayton Kershaw, who will be 23 at the start of 2011 season. Last season, in the midst of a mess, Kershaw posted a 2.91 ERA, struck out 212 batters, gave up just 13 home-runs, threw one complete, one shut-out and pitched just shy of 205 innings total.

Following Kershaw, is another young and talented pitcher named Chad Billingsley. Billingsley has the stuff of an ace, as he proved in 2007-2008 with a  record of 28-15, but the last two seasons he has been inconsistent and careless. At just 26, Billingsley needs to pitch to his potential again and surely has the chip on his shoulder to do it.

The backend starts with veteran Ted Lilly, who is finally healthy again and should have a big year. After only making 12 starts in 2010, where Lilly managed to record 77 strikeouts over 77 innings pitched, this season he should be back to his innings eating regular self. After Lilly, the Dodgers have Jon Garland and Hiroki Kuroda who both just chip away at innings and are as solid a backend as any team could want.

The Dodgers line-up underachieved to say the least in 2010. Matt Kemp, James Loney and Andre Eithier are three studs that need to grow up now and play to their potential. With Mattingly, comes Donnie Baseball and his attitude should light the fire for the trio. In my opinion, the fact that Kemp hit 28 homeruns and Eitheir was a 2010 All-Star, which leads me to believe the reason for last year’s second-half slump is purely because they stopped loving the game.


Closer Jonathan Broxton second half of 2010 has to make everyone question his ability to be effective. Even with the team’s internal drama, Broxton imploded and his lack of confidence was evident. This is not a trait any closer can have, as believing that game is over when you tae the ball, along with a little anger are key characteristics for any player in this role.

The only reason Broxton is under the negatives, is because he does not have the track record of the core hitters. Also, in a division like the NL West where games outcomes are decided daily by just one or two runs, a team’s closer has to be a one-man army that no matter what will not mentally collapse and be able to fake it on the occasional off-day.

Players To Watch:

OF Matt Kemp numbers dropped so much in 2010 it was disturbiana (LOL). Now that he is not dating super-singer Rihanna anymore, it is time for Kemp to get back to baseball. Kemp is a five-tool player and expect Kemp’s pathetic .249 batting average from 2010 to jump back to what the 26 year-old is capable of, which is .300+. Continue reading ‘2011 MLB Team Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers’ »