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Hard Knocks Jets Episode 3: Fans Want Respect? Don’t Watch Rex Ryan

The week prior to the start of the 2009 NFL season, a friend who happens to be a die-hard New York Jets fans and season-ticket holder told me an impressive story.

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This friend had received a voicemail from new Jets coach Rex Ryan. Ryan had a request for all Jets fans to be as loud as possible for the Jets’ home opener against their division rival New England Patriots.

Any NFL fan knows the Jets have been a joke, and the Patriots are the scions of the league.

My reaction was “WOW.” I was thoroughly impressed. Admittedly, a little jealous too as a lifelong New York Giants fan because it made a fan know his importance to his team. My jealousy faded fast once I remembered this was the Jets, but if Ryan got the team playing—God bless him.

Well, it worked because the 2009 Jets went to the playoffs and that is more than I can say for my Giants.

So when HBO announced that the Jets would be the new team features on Hard Knocks, I was excited. I had admired coach Ryan’s energy and now could see first-hand how he worked his magic in training camp. I was excited.

Then, to my utter disappointment, coach Ryan is not the leader I thought he was going to be. Dropping the f-bomb left and right, while acting like a buddy rather than a coach.

Where was the line of respect or order? Surely, a team like the Jets could not be lead by a man who was more concerned about the cameras than the players.

One pathetic scene was when Ryan was doing check-in one evening at training camp chanting “Revis, where are you?” over and over again.

Darrelle Revis is the top cornerback in NFL, who is still under contract with the Jets for two more years. Revis wants more money because this season salaries are uncapped, meaning that the owners can spend as much as they want too. Continue reading ‘Hard Knocks Jets Episode 3: Fans Want Respect? Don’t Watch Rex Ryan’ »

New York Yankees: Phil Hughes To Finish-Off Blue Jays To Win The Series

After losing the first game, the New York Yankees demolished the Blue Jays at home in Toronto on Tuesday night.

Marcus Thames, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira all homered in the affair.

Wednesday night’s game determines the series; both teams want to win but are on very different paths.

The Blue Jays have a chip on their shoulder. My guess is because Toronto resides in the AL East, which diminishes any hopes at a playoff berth.

This season the Blue Jays are legitimate. Proof is in their record, which is 16-4 over their last 20 games vs. the AL East teams. It must be frustrating.

So, making it harder, for the teams like the Yankees must be a distance second.

The Yankees are fighting to get in the playoffs, to defend their title and that takes winning inter-division series. In an important game, so having Phil Hughes is on the mound is an advantage.

Hughes is settled in again, after the stress of the “Hughes Rules” seem to simmer down. Thus far, Hughes’ 2010 totals are a solid 15-5 record, pitching for 140.0+ innings, with 116 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.90.

In his last start, Hughes earned his 15th win of 23 starts against the Detroit Tigers. A first inning home-run to Miguel Cabrera, who is the best hitter in baseball was the only bump. Hughes struck out six, walked zero and went six innings. Continue reading ‘New York Yankees: Phil Hughes To Finish-Off Blue Jays To Win The Series’ »

New York Yankees: Dustin Moseley Can’t Beat theToronto Blue Jays Alone

After losing the first game 2-3, the New York Yankees need to win Tuesday night against the Blue Jays at Rogers Center.

The Tampa Bay Rays have caught up to tie in the standings, and the Boston Red Sox are still very much alive.

Translation…. inter-division games can kill a team’s chances for playoff berth, so the Yankees cannot lose this series for starters.

The Blue Jays are making things difficult against all AL East teams. Toronto is not making the playoffs this season, but in any other division my bet is circumstances would be different.

In all honesty, handing the ball to RHP Dustin Moseley is risky because he brings no stability on the mound.

Moseley has fared better because Yankees bats have backed him by scoring runs. This will be essential once again, as Moseley is no match for the homerun hitting Blue Jays.

Toronto’s Jose Bautista has demolished the Yankees in 2010, hitting six homers and 12 RBIs with a .511 on-base percentage. Against Moseley, the slugger is 0 and 4, striking-out once and walked one time as well.

Still, Moseley in his last start against Toronto he gave up nine hits, five earned runs, two homeruns, walked one, managed two strikeouts and a game ERA of 6.14.

Moseley has made five starts since Andy Pettitte hit the DL, pitched 29 innings, allowing 16 earned runs, seven homeruns, with 14 strikeouts and 10 walks. Problem is Moseley has only had three strikeouts, while allowing four homeruns and eight hits in his latest two outings.

The Blue Jays are countering with LHP Mark Rzepczynski, who is even more inexperienced than Moseley, making his fifth start for Toronto.

Rzepczynski is 1-1 over four starts in 2010. He mirrors Moseley with an ERA 4.76.

On the season, in Rzepczynski 22.2 innings pitched he’s allowed 12 earned runs, two homeruns, but has struck-out 19 batters.

His last start was awful, as Rzepczynski has zero strikeouts, giving up 5 hits, with three runs scoring before getting pulled in the fourth inning.

Yankees need to watch for Rzepczynski’s change-up, as that is his strongest pitch but only if he can execute it.

PREDICTION:

Yankees need to run on base-pads against Blue Jays catcher Jose Molina. This is not easy, but the Yankees know Molina and the Blue Jays don’t focus on runners as much as they should.

With Derek Jeter back in line-up, the Yankees will win 6-1.

Moseley will get the win over Rzepczynski, but this is a close call.

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New York Yankees: Rookie Ivan Nova To Debut On Mound Vs. Toronto Blue Jays

What a rare opportunity for rookie pitcher Ivan Nova to make his mark in New York Yankees pinstripes, by making his Major League debut tonight vs. the heavy-hitting Toronto Blue Jays.

Getting called up from Scranton-Wilkes-Barre is every rookie’s goal, but to start against another AL East ball-club, in middle of a tight pennant race is a lot of pressure. Can Ivan Nova do his job?

The Yankees obviously have a lot of trust in Nova’s abilities. He has been an ace in Triple-A with a 12-3 record and 2.66 ERA.

Look for Nova to throw a newly acquired slider. The Yankees hope is the 23-year-old righty can throw a lot of strikes to keep the team in first place within the division.

Toronto Blue Jays will counter with another youngster, 26-year-old Brandon Morrow.

On August 9, Morrow threw 137 pitches, posting 17-strikeouts against the Tampa Bay Rays, just missing a no-hitter, which would have been the second in Blue Jays history. Morrow did record his first complete game and shutout, which is a huge accomplishment for the young righty.

Morrow has made three starts vs. New York in 2010, in which he is 1-0, allowing 11 earned runs, three homeruns, four walks and striking out 24.

On the season, Morrow has a 9-8 record, posting a 4.45 ERA, allowing only 10 homeruns, with 153 strikeouts over 131.1 innings pitched. He has to get his walks rate down which is currently at 60 in total.

Morrow will be extra careful with Jorge Posada and Brett Gardner who have hit him well this season. Also, any pitcher facing Robinson Cano is aware that he has been a monster with the bat.

MY PREDICTION:

Nova vs. Morrow will be a no-decision, and the Yankees will win 5-2.

On Road to Repeat: Eight Things Yankees Must Do to Win The AL East

In sports or life, as an individual or as a team once you become a champion is beyond satisfying.

After many failures through dedication and hard work the sense of relief must be surreal.

Getting back there again surely loses it’s sense of urgency, that is why repeating as a champion is harder than becoming one in the first place.

The Yankees are the most winning franchise in all of sports. No other teams can really compete financially, historically, or geographically. The Yankees popularity spans worldwide, and MLB stadiums everywhere fill-up if they’re in town.

Beating the Yankees is an accomplishment on it’s on, even if it is just a regular season game. Teams put forth efforts that go unseen, but come out vs. the Bombers.

It inevitably makes the task of repeating actually much harder and the road to repeat truly tests each player’s individual character.

Certain situations and individual performances will hinder the outcome of 2010 more than others. Here are 10 that are almost crucial in winning the AL East Division:

  1. Steal more bases overall. Keeping the opposing pitcher distracted is key for any team, but the Yankees need to run more. Brett Gardner’s value has soared because he is such a pest on the base-pads. Curtis Granderson can be a base-stealing machine, along with the young legs of Ramiro Pena, Francisco Cervelli and the old legs of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez can cause utter confusion for opposing teams. Just look at the Tampa Bay Rays as this is the team’s specialty.
  2. Since the addition of RP Kerry Wood to the bullpen, the Yankees middle relievers have been dominate. Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan, Sergio Mitre have resonated confidence which is essential for the team’s survival. The return of Alfredo Aceves just adds to the most underrated group of players in baseball.
  3. AJ Burnett has to pitch with more consistency. Burnett is not being asked anything more than what he has shown in the past, aka. 2009. It is no secret that Burnett is a hothead and mentally can get in a funk. No one is trying to change Burnett because I believe his craziness is vital to his overall successful. This season, Burnett can’t keep the scale level. When Burnett implodes, it drives him to be better. Great performances can no longer heavily outweigh Burnett’s frustrations.
  4. Continue reading ‘On Road to Repeat: Eight Things Yankees Must Do to Win The AL East’ »

Randy For Grandy: Curtis Granderson Earning His Yankee Pinstripes

New York Yankee fans have been waiting patiently for Curtis Granderson to figure himself out and it was well worth the wait.

Presently, the hardest stretch of the regular season is well underway for teams in contention, making the Yankees timing for heading into crisis-mode a serious concern.

The worrying began after the Bombers lost two of four games to the Kansas City Royals. Winning games against sub-.500 teams gives teams in a divisional race some cushioning down the stretch.

With the Yankees schedule only getting harder, the added insurance wins are essential, vital actually because one lose could make all the difference.

Returning to the Bronx couldn’t come faster, but what seemed like a god-send in the past, only got worse.

Hosting the Detroit Tigers for a four-game set proved the Yankee hitters could barely make contact with the ball to start the series Monday night.

In the same game, the Bombers two best hitters, Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher, both exited mid-game with recurring injuries.

Yankee fans went into panic mode. Sans-ARod was enough of a reason in itself for fans to worry.

How the hell are the Yankees going to win and who the hell is going to hit?

The answer came Tuesday night and his name is Curtis Granderson.

Granderson is turning into the Yankee hero in a time of crisis, something Grandy knew he owed this team.

Since being in pinstripes, Grandy was not a liability like Nick Johnson, but he was not the stud from the Tigers either.

The all-star Granderson the Yankees craved was nowhere to be found, except on the DL for about eight weeks.

Still, at the stadium fans demonstrated no hostility towards Granderson, but not loving him either. This behavior was way out of character for Yankee fans.

Call it subconscious instinct because now Granderson is hitting and the Yankees love it.

Everyone is randy for Grandy, and deservedly so considering he is the prime reason the team survives this A-Rod drought.

Over the last six games, Granderson has a .364 batting average, with eight hits, two doubles, two homers, three RBIs, and three walks.

Granderson, his teammates, and the fans somehow knew this was no mistake and now we have the proof.

LET’S GO YANKEES!