Now Lee is a Texas Ranger, but his uniform is irrelevant because most Yankees fans have no problem identifying Lee on the mound. I still remember our first encounter, like it was yesterday.
It was May 7, 2008 and I was bringing one of my best friends to her first Yankees game at the Old Stadium. Bringing a virgin is always a treat because the Yankees usually impress newbies.
Not that day, as the Yankees went hit-less. More precisely, the bats made contact with the ball about three times, just grazing the wood.
My mouth dropped and the Yankees looked just as shocked.
To make a long story short, my virgin-fan-friend was bored and she hadn’t been back to another game with me until two days ago.
Cliff Lee is a pitcher that teams fear because he can dominate batting lineups and makes it look almost too easy at times.
A perfect example is Game One of the 2009 World Series, when he caught a pop-up by just holding his glove out, not moving more than his wrist. The Yankee hitters’ career numbers against Lee look a lot better because a majority of the players did better while on other teams.
Lee has brutalized the Bombers in his last three seasons, regardless of where Lee was playing. Lee in pinstripes seems like a pipe dream, as Yankee Universe has drooled over this possibility for some time now. Lee seems to just go play on teams that the Yankees could face in October.
After splitting a series 2-2 with the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees head down south, deep in the heart of Texas, to face the Rangers.
The Rangers have been at the mercy of the Yankees for over a decade, and this season has been no different, as the Bombers swept the Rangers in their last meeting back in April.
The Yankees have enjoyed playing in Texas, posting a 15-4 record since 2005.
This time the Rangers look a little different, with the addition of ace Cliff Lee. Lee is quite familiar to the Yankees, as he has dominated the team as an Indian, Mariner, and Phillie—but as a Ranger, he is yet to be seen.
Let’s look at the first showdown in this two-game trip, Tuesday night’s match-up:
Yankees starter A.J. Burnett can safely add “scratch” to his personal history, as Burnett was slated to start on Sunday night against the Red Sox but did not due to back spasms. Last outing, Burnett allowed a historical five doubles during a seven-run fifth inning against his old team, the Blue Jays. Burnett had just won his last two starts before imploding in the fifth. It was the same old tune for Burnett, as his fastball wasn’t sinking and then he got wild. Burnett is a crucial part of the puzzle for the remaining stretch of the season and this would be a perfect time to start giving the Yankees some solid outings again. In 2010, Burnett is 9-9 with a 4.93 ERA.
C.J. Wilson is also coming off a horrible start, his worst in 2010. The lefty Wilson lasted just three innings, striking out three, walking four and allowing four earned runs against the awful Mariners. Wilson has the most walks in the AL with 66, but has struck out 103 batters over 22 starts. Yankee bats crushed Wilson earlier this season, as he lost the game, 5-1. Wilson will be especially careful with new Yankee Lance Berkman and Nick Swisher, who both have hit Wilson well in the past.
Wilson’s major advantage would have been his lack of Yankees face-time, as the Bombers struggle with unfamiliar pitchers. Problem is, they never got scared in the first place and that is not good.
Burnett is 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA in his four starts against the Rangers in pinstripes, so I am predicting Burnett will come through with a solid performance.
Burnett was a last minute scratch due to back spasms, but Moseley, as his replacement, didn’t go over too well in the Bronx.
Could Moseley handle the atmosphere of a Red Sox-Yankees game?
The answer is yes. Going into the sixth inning, Moseley had a pitch count of 69 with 39 strikes and 30 balls. Moseley was consistent, striking out five and walking two. He got run support from the team which played a major part in the win.
Moseley looked confident and got a well-deserved standing ovation from a packed Yankee Stadium.
Moseley is now 2-1 with a 3.66 ERA in his three starts in New York.
To say fans were thrown off would be an understatement. Imagine if Burnett had made his start and how disastrous things could have gotten.
Fact is that Burnett is about as reliable as a man guessing a woman’s pant size. Games go one of three ways for Burnett: He either stinks, dominates, or dominates for four innings only to implode in the fifth by giving up multiple home runs.
Moseley is unfamiliar to Yankees fans, as the relationship is too new. He originally replaced Sergio Mitre, who had been tapped to replace Yankees’ ace Andy Pettitte until he returns to health.
Moseley is not a rookie. In 2000 the Cincinnati Red drafted him in the first round, but got traded to the Los Angeles Angels in 2006. Moseley made three starts for the Halos in 2009 before having to undergo hip surgery. In his 23 total starts he is 8-7 with a 5.41 ERA.
Moseley saved the day on Sunday, but a move into the bullpen when Pettitte returns and the rosters expand seems imminent. He is not solid enough to keep in the rotation for the long haul.
Still, Dustin Moseley should be proud of his performance that propelled the Yankees to a headlining win.
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Dustin unlikely hero, except to himself (nypost.com)
In the last week the Blue Jays won series against the two best teams in baseball; first they were in New York winning two of three against the Yankees, then headed home and pounded on the Tampa Bay Rays.
By now this is a broken record in Toronto, the ball club plays well, but is always missing that something to make it into the post-season.
So what is the problem with the Blue Jays?
Thus far in 2010, we know the Blue Jays can hit home-runs. The team leads the majors with 175 as of August 7th.
The sting of losing ace Roy Halladay to the Philadelphia Phillies was just a figure of speech because the Blue Jays have quality young arms that have made his absence almost forgettable. The pitching prospects are top notch, but this group needs to stay together in 2011 for their talent to really start to show.
They can hang in the AL East because they continually prove it.
My theory is all the Jays do is hit home-runs, so the inevitable slumps hit deeper because they don’t play small ball.
Toronto’s starting rotation has given up only 93 home-runs this season, second in the AL behind the Chicago White Sox who have the lowest in the majors with 78.
So, please explain how the team who hits the most home-runs and gives up the lease can’t even contend for the postseason?
Could the Blue Jays stay hot and make a miracle-type of run for October?
Toronto’s typical behavior over the last few seasons is a hot streak that ends just before the All-Star break and that is about it.
This is not the case in 2010, as the Blue Jays are making another go at it and doing it against baseball’s elite.
Hey in sports, you never know what can happen. Maybe Toronto fans should go cheer because the team is surely giving them reason now.
JUST A NOTE….One AL East team has a four game winning streak and it’s the Baltimore Orioles. New skipper Buck Showalter will inspire good things to come in Camden Yard. It’s about time the loyal depressed O’s fans had something real and good to look forward too.