The playoffs are a fresh start for all eight teams, no matter how each clinched a spot it is a new beginning. Just because the Yankees are the most winning team surely does not mean that they cannot lose.
Just remember the road to the Super Bowl in 2007, where team David (NYG) beat team Goliath (NEP). It is the heart of a team that wins championships. Entitlement can bee the death of teams who start to presume something is there’s before it is earned.
Once all eight teams are locked completely, the talk based on opinions and possibilities will begin. The fans that follow their teams to the playoffs have the dream of a World Series right in their reach.
Hearts will be broken and other will be filled but for everyone it will surely be memorable.
Cashman and Girardi were baseball Einstein’s. Problems that arouse got fixed. And any looming questions from last season were obviously thought out by acquiring the players to fill holes in the roaster.
Girardi’s ‘outside the box’ thinking was just the refreshing change needed as evident by the downward spiral unraveling over the past few seasons. Must be very inspirational for the players to see the manager have such work ethic; it is a characteristic that legendary leader (coaches, managers etc) are made of.
The players look up to him and trust that what he asks of them is for the best of the team. Even failures individually are taken as a team. Girardi is clearly someone who the team respects as an equal and also as a friend.
The Skipper’s most successful change was flip-flopping Derek Jeter to leadoff and Johnny Damon in the #2 spot. Smart thinking for three reasons:
1. Brett Garner hitting at the bottom that splits two lefty bats.
2. Damon’s power in the two slot sets up for Texieria.
3. Captain Clutch is not his nickname for nothing besides his OBP being just higher than Damon’s.
Girardi decision worked out great.
As Jeter is having a season, which could be his most valuable, and Damon is maintaining his power bat by pounding homers make it official.
Now the question that has been a huge focus of baseball this season is still unanswered.
Unfortunately, for Joba it could not get worse. The blame in the end falls on his shoulders, which for a 23 year old that is a heavy weight.
Who gets the blame?
Not Joba, he was just doing as he was told. The gleams of hope due to one out-of-this-world performance made relentless efforts just become confusing.
All Yankee players know when their performance has hit a low point because the fans chime in. And at the stadium the fans were booing Joba as if he were the new Kyle Farnsworth of the team.
Safe to say that the infamous ‘Joba Rules’ caused a media guessing game and the debated still dominate the sports world.
Clearly Joba’s natural talents balance rarified air. The Yanks did not want to cave and put Joba in the bullpen. Hughes got tossed in the middle and he was nothing short of perfect.
Thus far, Hughes’s all around development is much more lucrative of a starter than Joba. Mentally and physically Hughes has matured and looks like a different player.
Surely the Yankees have to absorb some of the blame, if not all. Hughes was never treated with kid gloves but tossing him in the bullpen was because there was no other choice to keep him up on the major league level.
Hughes new position was the main reason for the team’s success but imagine if Joba had that success as a starter?
No point in daydreaming because the nightmare is making me not want to fall back to sleep.
Now everyone is asking is Joba can handle going to the bullpen?
Yes he can. More Crucially this might be the boost this special kid as a reminder of what he is capable of.
Joba thrives off the pressure of the environment, which has been on display since the last Yankee playoffs against the Indians.
The kid has the fierceness of closer. Hughes has the grace and poise of a starter. Hughes is confident which stems from not being paid attention too like his buddy. Figuring out how to get out of messy situations are so valuable, as you learn by experience. Hughes got left out there to hang what his arm dealt out and he is better for it.
Joba should go to the pen and not ever come back out. The knowledge that Mariano can give him next season is invaluable. Rivera as a mentor to Joba is crucial. Mo knows that he is human who makes mistakes and is calm around the hype. Joba is the hype and needs to learn otherwise or it could be detrimental to his future.
Surprising hard to find a fault the team with the best record in baseball and I hope the MVP too.
The reality of the situation is that Joba should go in the bullpen, permanently.
Imagine, could Joba be the crucial key on the road to a championship? Hughes was to the regular season so don’t count Joba out just yet.
The playoffs are about to start for the baseball world. Teams are claiming spots on the October schedule and others are looking towards next season.
The Yankees swept the Red Sox on Sunday to win the AL East. The first team to clinch a playoff berth but immediately followed the Cardinals winning the NL Central, the Dodgers clinched a spot and just minutes ago I caught the Angels winning the AL West.
It made me start to think of what the possibilities, which are endless, that could play out this October. The ideas quickly turned to waves of anxiety that started to absorb my thoughts.
Here are the three that no Yankee fan hopes never to have to read….
1. Watching the Angels win was not thrilling, as it was a complete accident as I was innocently tuning to ESPN hoping for Sports Center.
I was not paying attention as I was on the web surfing when I heard the screaming fans and looked up. It was Ian Kinsler at bat and the bottom ticker read 1 Out For Angels To Win The AL West. The score being 11-0 it was not a promising situation for the Rangers.
Subsequently, Kinsler grounded a ball to third and Figgins threw to first for the easy out. Then the celebration began. Watching it felt wrong but it also made me realize that the Yankees do not have to see the Angels first round.
The Angels are like being on the other end of having to face Ray Lewis in the NFL. Lewis is the scariest defender and the Angels are that team.
I hope that the headline will not read ANGELS SWEEP THE RED SOX! MESSAGE SENT TO YANKEES: BRING IT ON.
2. The second headline is purely out of spite for our old skipper Joe Torre.
TORRE UP TO HIS OLD TRICKS: DODGERS WIN WORLD SERIES.
Look, it was hard enough to be at Torre’s last game but that turned to betrayal fast after the release The Yankee Years.
Call it bitterness and that would be completely correct. The Dodgers are not as much of a threat because the only place the Yankees can meet Torre’s team would be in the World Series. Do no think the Dodgers will beat the Cardinals or the Phillies (if they make it).
I just hope that the Dodgers do not even win a game. As for their manager, Mr. Torre is not in it for the team or the game of baseball. Gaining the trust of players as people, only to take personal club house on-goings and exploit them for his own benefit is being nothing more than a traitor.
Sorry Mr. Torre but you do not hold a candle to the character of our new skipper, Joe Girardi.
3.THE CURSE IS STILL REVERSED
It is safe to say this is common knowledge to anyone that no Yankee fan could stomach this.
After the embarrassment of being 8-0 to Boston earlier this season to only come back to finish 8-8 is only the icing on the cake.
This rivalry has built so many heart-breaking instances and revenges for decades that the list is endless.
The only thing that Red Sox and Yankee fans firmly agree is on is that neither wants the other team to win.
I love the history and the intense competition the games bring. It is much better to win in the end, especially for the loyalty of each teams fan base.
Some have described the feeling of losing to Boston along the lines like being dumped by a guy you really like, out of nowhere.
The biggest upside for the Bombers not having to fly back to Anaheim to play the Angels in the first round. The Angels are that that scary.
Realizing why the Yanks looked like a beaten club, even when they beat the Angels are because the Angels play small ball, long ball and run the bases fiercely. Easily, the Angels have the most comparable batting line-up to the Yankees so pitchers have to be virtually perfect. The Angels are relentless in winning and their formula works.
No one is taking anything away from having to face the Tigers or the Twins to start, as both talented ball clubs. Being at home is comfortable, familiar and starting with having an entire city cheering you on beats flying across the country to face a team residing in Anaheim.
2. The Giants are still looking like the solid champs of two years back. Big Blue won their third game in a row, a great way to start the season and one with so many unanswered questions.
The question of wide receiver has been a continuous tryout to see who would be Eli’s new Plaxico. This looming question is far from an answer. Actually, it might never really get a solid answer.
The Giants do not need an answer but this third win in a row means the team does not want one either. The rotating group wide receivers are being lead by a solid Eli Manning at quarterback. Maybe that is the answer at least part one.
Part two, three and four being the defense, O-line and running game all being top of their game gives the wiggle room for Coach Coughlin to have season long tryouts.
3. The Jets who have been the football version of the Mets. Predicted going into the season to be good to leave fans with one disappointing loss after another. That has been the theme of the Jets, one letdown after another. Always with one glimmer of what could have been at least once a season. This entailed beating some team, that even shocked the Jets themselves, leaving a worn out fan base to see that maybe next year will be better.
Welcome to that next year Jet fans.
Those Jets of the past can stay in the past. That is now a fact after defeating Tennessee Titans to go 3-0 to start the season. It might seem like a dream but it’s not and after today you can relax because last weekends win was not just luck.
It was a mini Super Bowl for Jets fans as their division mates, the mighty Patriots came to the Meadowlands and lost last week. As a Giant fan I have to say I was impressed and happy for the Jets to look finally competitive.
Rex Ryan is just the leader this team needed. Being in your first year as coach to have the players already playing for you (the coach) speaks volumes of the man Coach Ryan is. What he did against the Pats, leaving a voicemail for every season ticket holder asking the fans to cheer, obviously did more then just elevates noise. It made the players believe which in turn inspires and that are what champions are made off. The other New York team is a perfect example of that.
The day anyone thought that the notion or consideration of a possible Subway Series Super Bowl would be anything more then just a really funny joke can nows make it a reality. If the two New York teams keep winning which means playing this well, all season long, it could happen.
It is early, it is the Jets but even more reason to have the faith in the now.
The #4-train last night was packed full with Yankees and Red Sox fans heading to the Bronx. Expecting what looked to be the first game of a tough series for both the Red Sox and the Yankees. A forecast of what was to come on the road to the World Series.
Joba was the scheduled starter so as I got off the train at the stadium. I was rationalizing that this kid has faired very well against the Red Sox and Joba thrives off pressure.
Batting was going to play a huge part if the Yanks wanted to win. Joba has pitched so poorly lately that the likelihood of the bullpen having to go multiple innings was a realistic possibility.
Well, the game went on to be as positive for a team as the Yankees could have dreamt of the night before.
Reality set in for Joba after his last three innings, seven run disaster in Seattle. “Unacceptable” was the word that stuck from Manager Joe Girardi and pitching coachDave Eiland to get this kid to wake-up. The Joba Rules were a now outdated and maybe the newfound freedom was the trick.
To sum it up:
• Joba pitched a solid six innings last night. Joba retired the first 11 Red Sox he faced. He was working quickly and his confidence was evident just by watching him.
• Yankees robbed a season high seven stolen bases. Most stolen by the team in 13 years.
• The bats all contributed in scoring nine runs with Jon Lester on the mound.
• Jeter started the game with a first pitch single and immediately stole second.
The Yankees looked like by far the more dominant ball-club. The Reds Sox looked like a team struggling to keep it. Big Pappi had his 27th homer which was about the only ray of hope displayed.
With the Red Sox being hot in pursuit to get into the playoffs, I thought that the battle would have been a war. The team fell apart fast but actually, Boston never really had their act together in the first place.
Nothing is set in stone for what the future holds but I can say that being a Yankee fan right now feels pretty darn good.
With the reality of perfection crushed the last two weeks by the staggering inconsistent play of the Bombers, fright definitely set in.
Taking the series in Anaheim was a battle in itself but maybe just the boost of confidence the team needed to not let the Angels egos get the best of them.
For a fan, I will believe because to win the World Series the part of the fans plays such a role that I think we all seem to forget sometimes.
Being at the game last night the only thing that bests describes the outcome is that the Boston Red Sox bleed pinstripes last night.
When the season started the Red Sox looked like the team to beat. Boston took the first eight games against the Yankees and at the All-Star break were in first by three.
Since the All-Star break the Yankees have given all of baseball a message, that this team wants to win. Boston has fallen back the last two months having injuries in all the wrong places.
It was becoming just a little long to be a slump, the idea that the Yankees might have cast a spell started to sink in.The last two weeks Boston has started to look like themselves again. I would be stunned if they did make the playoffs but that’s what that are playing for this weekend.
The Boston Red Sox came into New York today still not officially in the post season. Even with the Yankees guarantee for October, this is a series that is more like a preview of what’s to come.
In words or instructions by our Captain, Jeter has said no celebrating because the team wants the division and that is not looked down. That would give the Yanks the top spot and could play most likely Detroit in the Bronx. The other option is Angels in Anaheim. No one wants that to happen and the reasons are evident.
Sending Boston to California fist round would be ideal but who would the Yanks rather face if they win the first round.?
I will be able to answer that after this series. Both teams are playing well and it is the fairest of their match-ups thus far.
Pitching will decide these games. Boston is on fire from the mound and the only real issue is Joba. On the schedule it is his night but it has been said that CC Sabathia might start which is five days because of the off day yesterday. AJ pitched lights out on Wednesday and with the extra day makes CC an option it would be idiotic to use Joba.
Home field would give the Yankees the assurance that this could happen in the playoffs because Joba is not showing any sign short of getting worse.
This could be the same teams fighting in two weeks in the ALCS. Finally, the old school match-up that baseball fans have missed dearly.