2010 Yankees Preview

Here is a preview of the 2010 New York Yankees.

The 2009 World Champs are looking to repeat, and certainly have the team to do it. The Yankees are returning the best infield in the majors, and have added a centerfielder with some speed and power in Curtis Granderson, they also have gotten younger, letting go of 2 guys who were key in the 2009 world series in Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui, and 0replacing them with Brett Gardner and Nick Johnson. Gardner while won’t have the same kind of power that Johnny Damon had, he will bring speed, defense, and a decent arm to Left Field. Johnson, should he be healthy, will bring the Yankees more patience to the line up. And if he bats behind Jeter and ahead of Mark Teixeira, he will see a lot of good pitches to hit. Add to that he will score a lot of runs should he bat 2nd.

The Yankees Rotation has 4 guys who are top of rotation kind of guys, 3 of whom could be aces on any team. CC Sabathia heads this rotation, and Andy Pettitte brings the most experience. Sabathia, Pettitte, and AJ Burnett all return from last year’s championship club, Javy Vazquez is a familiar face to the Yankees, but wasn’t on the team last season. Phil Hughes is the Yankees 5th starter and was a key member out of the bullpen last season (he will be a key reliever during the 2010 postseason should the Yankees get there).

The Yankees bullpen, as always, is anchored by Mariano Rivera. The Yankees closer is coming off another amazing season and hasn’t shown any sign of slowing down. The Yankees always have questions getting to Mo, but this year, much like last they will have to rely on the bullpen a lot less then years past. The Yankees have 4 guys in their rotation who were workhorses, and delivered 200+ innings for their respective clubs. The logical choice for set up man is Job Chamberlain. Chamberlain returning to the spot that got him into the Majors will be huge for the Yankees. as far as the 7th inning, is concerned the Yankees have a whole bunch of arms they can use. Heading this list is probably Chan Ho Park and Damaso Marte. Last season’s postseason Houdini, David Robertson also is part of this list of arms that will see time in the middle innings getting to Chamerblain and Mo. Sergio Mitre and Alfredo Aceves will be used as long relievers and spot starters should any of the Yankee starters get hurt or are ineffective early in the year.

The Yankees line up, rotation and bullpen are strong. The bullpen will be the difference between winning the world series or just making the playoffs. As it stands, to me the Yankees are the favorites to win the whole thing for the 2nd consecutive year.

Projected Lineup:
1. Derek Jeter SS
2. Nick Johnson DH
3. Mark Teixeira 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez 3B
5. Robinson Cano 2B
6. Jorge Posada C
7. Curtis Granderson CF
8. Nick Swisher RF
9. Brett Gardner LF

Projected Rotation:
1. CC Sabathia
2. AJ Burnett
3. Andy Pettitte
4. Javier Vazquez
5. Phil Hughes

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What a week for Major League baseball. Especially for the Red Sox and the Rays. They had the most interesting week in baseball out of any of the Major League teams, due to a few fights. On June 5th, just under a week ago, the two teams met up in Fenway Park.

And here’s how we set up the scene: Bottom of the 2nd, James Shields on the hill, Coco Crisp at the plate. The previous night, Crisp took a late hard slide into 2nd baseman Akinori Iwamura, in which Joe Maddon and the rest of the Rays took exception to. Crisp challenged the Rays to bring it the next night, and boy did they. In Crisp’s first at bat of the Game in the 2nd Inning, James Shields threw a fastball at the thigh of Crisp, and hit him. Crisp charged the mound, Shields whiffed on a punch, Crisp was taken down and pummeled by Jonny Gomes, Carl Crawford, Dioner Navarro, among others. Shields was thrown to the ground by Sox 3rd base coach DeMarlo Hale. The aftermath resulted in a 6 game suspension for Shields, 5 Games for Gomes, Edwin Jackson, 4 games for Carl Crawford, 3 games for Akinori Iwamura from the Rays. As for Boston, Crisp was suspended for 7 games, Starting pitcher Jon Lester was suspended 5 (for throwing at a Rays player), and Sean Casey was suspended 3.

The Red Sox weren’t done that night with fighting though. However, this time around it was within the team inside the dugout. Kevin Youkilis and Manny Ramirez began spatting words at each other. Ramirez took offense to some of the things Youkilis had said, and swung at the first baseman. Ramirez connected on a shot to the face, and then pushed Youkiis after hitting him in the face. Both players had to be broken and up and restrained.

As for the Rays, their in-house feud came over the weekend in Texas. Rays Catcher Dioner Navarro, and starting pitcher Matt Garza had disagreed on what pitches to throw to hitters of the Rangers. After Garza shook off Navarro in favor of throwing a fastball, which had gotten hit hard, Navarro came to the mound very heated, and started shouting at his young pitcher, Garza was shouting right back at him. The argument continued in the dugout as both started shoving the other. They wound up shoving each other into the clubhouse where they continued their feud.

I think both of these teams should take a page out of the movie Major League 2. I think you all know what scene I’m talking about, the one where the whole team fights each other and gets tossed from the game by the umps. If you’re gonna brawl with a team, what’s the point in holding something back?

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My AL East Predictions after 1st Month of Season

As I did last year, I will do this year, I’m going to take a look at my preseason predictions for the MLB season, and pick them apart. I will see what has exactly happened so far in my predictions.

AL East:

1. Boston Red Sox- Well my preseason Prediction has held true here. While the Red Sox haven’t exactly looked dominant on the offensive end of things, their pitching has been spectacular, especially as of late. Let’s not forget their offense while not overpowering everybody, has gotten clutch hit after clutch hit.

2. Tampa Bay Rays- While I had the Rays in 4th place in the division at the end of the season, I did say they would be very competitive within the division, and this first month of the season has done nothing but solidify my argument. Let’s also keep in mind, Scott Kazmir has only had 1 start in the season thus far. With a healthy Kazmir back in the rotation, as well as Sheilds and Garza, they will only continue to turn heads.

3. New York Yankees- I have the Yankees at 2nd in the division, getting the wild card when the season ends. However, the Yankees are only at .500 so far, and it’s mostly because of 1. pitching and 2. injuries. No, I’m not putting injuries as their main reason to struggling, that all goes to the 4th and 5th spot in the rotation. The reason the Yankees have started off so slowly has to do with mostly Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes. Hughes and Kennedy have come into the season and have given the Yankees nothing, but huge deficits and very few innings. This in turn has given the Yankees some tired arms early, and the offense a lot of pressure to put up runs (which they haven’t done). A-Rod and Posada have been injured for most of the month, so I wouldn’t count on them being out of the race any time soon. Besides, they’re starting off better then they did last year.

4. Toronto Blue Jays- If it wasn’t for a reason win streak, the Jays would be in last in the division. This team has gotten some solid pitching from it’s rotation. Halladay has pitched 4 CGs already this year, however he only won 1 of those games. The offense for the Jays is in trouble, especially since they waived Frank Thomas. I just don’t see where they will score runs, especially if Alex Rios is batting in the lead off spot.

5. Baltimore Orioles- While Baltimore hasn’t been as bad as people has expected them to be, they are starting to struggle. And this is only a sign of things to come. Jones, the OF they got in the Erik Bedard trade has shown how good he can be. He’s a star in the making, however it’s just not this year.

The East has been shaken up a little bit, but with time the division will straighten out a bit, and we shall see where it goes as the season goes on.

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The Olympics and Politics

There’s been something that has been bothering me for a while, and finally I’m speaking out to it. There are “goodwillers” as I will call them, those that try to be so morally right that they don’t realize how wrong they could possibly be. These people are those that all of a sudden coming out and saying very loudly that 1. the Americans should boycott the Opening Ceremonies to the 2008 Olympic Games or even worse 2. Boycotting the Olympics all together. Here’s my main issue with all of this:

The original purpose of the Olympics back in Ancient Greek times was for men of the Greek City-States to put down their weapons and put all their differences aside, and compete to see who was most athletic. That premise was true then, so why should it be so different now? We’ve gone to an Olympics in Nazi Germany. where Hitler was known to persecute Jews or anyone else of anything other then the Blonde hair blue eye German Stereotype, living in his country for no reason other then he could. However in that Olympics Hitler was embarrassed by African Americans, who went over there and showed that there is no perfect “Aryan Race.”

So tell me how are times different now then they were in 1936? The answer is, they aren’t in some areas of the world. There are many places in the world where human beings are treated unjustly, and we (Americans as a whole), have turned our back to it, and haven’t even begun to acknowledge it. So now, all of a sudden is the time to acknowledge China’s unjust treatment of human beings, meanwhile they’ve been doing it since Communism has been put into place there? What about the Sudan, where there are people forced to leave their country out of fear for their own life? How come we’ve done nothing about that? Let’s not forget about Israel/Palestine. We’ve done nothing to help the peace negotiations there, yet there’s constant violence there, all because of Intolerance. So again, how is that different then 1936? The truth is, it’s not, it’s just these countries combined aren’t as strong as Germany was back then.

And for those “goodwillers” you’re not a group of model citizens, when was the last time you made a goodwill trip to this country and made friends with these people? My guess is the same amount of times I’ve made the trip, a total of 0 times. Let the athletes play, and the politicians handle the politics. Sports and politics shouldn’t mix, and generally don’t mix. Let’s gear up for the Olympics in Beijing. God Bless America.

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Has the MLB Gone Soft?

I have come up with a new theory. Major League Baseball has gone soft. In a game between the Yankees and the Red Sox. Yankees reliever Kyle Farnsworth, who in the past has been known to have 1. control issues, and 2. a temper problem, had thrown high and tight and behind Red Sox Slugger Manny Ramirez.

Keep in mind, Farnsworth has control issues, a high 90’s MPH fastball, Ramirez didn’t get hit by the pitch. Also, let’s not forget Farnsworth wasn’t ejected from the game. But Bob Watson still decided to suspend the Right handed reliever, for “intent to hit Ramirez.” My problem is, the MLB is taking away the inside half of the plate, and any time you throw tight to a talented player, you might be suspended. The inside pitch is used to back a player off of the plate, but what the MLB is saying to those that throw inside, don’t do it, you’ll be suspended.

What happened to the good old days, where if you stood a pitcher up, you were knocked on your backside the next time up? what happened to when you crowded the plate you were expecting to get knocked back? What happened to pitchers trying to gain the inside and outside corners of the plate? The MLB has gone soft from the executives to those playing the game on the field.

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Tigers are the team to beat?

I’m not rushing into this post, because I do think the Tigers will be better then they are starting out. But I just find it funny that many experts found the Detroit Tigers the team to beat, despite having a terrible bullpen, and an average pitching staff. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Tigers pitched like this all season, however their line up should be able to win them a lot of games as the weather starts to warm up.

I had the Tigers as winning the AL Central going into the season, and I’m not going back on that now, however I do think that they aren’t as good as many have given them credit for. As I warned Dontrelle Willis isn’t as great as people make him out to be, Kenny Rogers is old, Nate Robertson isn’t that good, and Jeremy Bonderman is still average at best as well. The only solid man the Tigers have in that rotation is Justin Verlander. Magglio Ordonez, Edgar Renteria, Miguel Cabrera, Placido Polanco, Ivan Rodriguez, and Gary Sheffield will hit better then they are starting out at, so that makes their line up potentially a very deep line up. It’s just they can’t get off to a really bad start, otherwise they are giving the Indians a huge head start, and that’s the last thing they need. They are fortunate the Indians haven’t gotten off to such a great start in the 5 games either. And they should be happy it’s only 5 games.

Like I said, I’m not worried at this point that the Tigers will struggle, but if this keeps going I’d be very worried in Detroit, especially since they’ve lost their first 5 games against division opponents.

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Rays and Yanks Want Peace in the Bronx

For the first time this regular season, the Yankees and the Rays square off this extended weekend for a 4 game set in th Bronx. However these teams don’t want what was an escalating situation in Spring Training to carry over into the regular season.

Both teams want to think that everything from this past March is behind them, which should be the case in the minds of the players and the coaches, however that’s not going to be the case with the fans. All is not forgotten in the Bronx, Jonny Gomes and Elliot Johnson will be booed out of the stadium. While Shelley Duncan will get a loud ovation (should he play in any of the games). But peace seems to be the sentiment given from both skippers, Joe Maddon and Joe Girardi, and unless any of the players go on their own in starting the situation up again, we should see peace.

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