New York Yankees

A-Rod doesn’t pimp his balls

We’re as sick of the media East Coast bias and the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry as anyone but you gotta admit that it’s pretty funny when two teams start arguing about hitters staring at home run balls too long. After Manny Ramirez admired his homer off Scott Proctor (he did show him up by the way), A-Rod has been accused of doing the same thing to Tim Wakefield.

A-Rod denies that he would ever do something like that.

First of all, I’d never want to embarrass myself, so I wouldn’t pretend to embarrass myself by saying I didn’t see it if I had. Especially with someone like (Tim) Wakefield on the mound, who I respect as much as any pitcher in the game.

I’ve hit a lot of homers and I’ve never pimped one or tried to embarrass myself, my team or a guy like Wakefield or the Red Sox, who I respect so much. I don’t celebrate homers, it’s not my thing. All you have to do is look at my track record.

Meanwhile, Joe Torre said, “There’s a lot of things that go on today that the old-time pitchers wouldn’t put up with. The game has changed a lot. It’s not only Manny Ramirez.” Sounds like Torre wants a beanball at the head of Manny to clear a few things up. We’ll root for anything that results in a bench clearing brawl. And, if somehow, AJ Pierzynski could get socked in the jaw in the deal, that’d be even better.

[NY Daily News]: A-Rod sez charge an injustice

MLB General

Full Count for Mon May 22 2006: Recapping the Subway series

1. Playoff intensity in June: The Mets-Yankees was likely the most interesting series in this weekend of interleague play. While there were two other intercity rivalries, this was by far the most intense. The teams split the first two games of the series with two huge comebacks, but the third game was slightly less exciting. The Mets beat the Yankees to win the series, 4-3. The Yankees offense dominated during the first few innings, yet they were only able to put 2 runs up. The Mets quickly answered with 4th inning homeruns from Carlos Delgado and David Wright, both complete shots off Aaron Small. They produced 4 runs, which was all of the Mets needed to win this series. Tom Glavine, pitching in his 48th MLB season, went 6 innings and picked up his seventh win of the year. The Mets are up 3 in the East now, while the Yanks have fallen 1.5 back of the Red Sox. That could be resolved when the two teams square off each of the next 3 days.

2. King Albert: The Cardinals-Royals “rivalry” turned out to be just as one-sided as everyone thought. St. Louis disposed of the weakling Royals in a 3-game sweep, and Albert Pujols took advantage of KC’s weak pitching. Pujols homered in all three games to bring his season total to 22, which is on pace for 84. His 54 runs batted in also lead the majors. Why aren’t teams starting to give him the Bonds treatment? It’s beyond us. The Cardinals have now won 8 out of 10 to take a 4 game lead in the NL Central. Expect them to sweep through this division with ease unless the Astros can sign Roger Clemens.

3. Last place dominance: The Devil Rays may suck, but they can sure beat the other bad teams in the league. They swept the Royals earlier this season, and Sunday’s 3-0 win over the Marlins gave them another sweep. The pitching matchup was excellent for this highly unanticipated game. Dontrelle Willis and Scott Kazmir faced off, and Kazmir was able to add another win to his total. Kazmir struck out 11 and shutout the Marlins to improve to 7-2. Compare that to last year, when in 32 starts he went 10-9. He is quickly becoming the first ace the Devil Rays have ever had. Meanwhile, Willis’ struggles continued as he is now 1-5 with a 5.12 ERA. The Devil Rays now have a surprising 20 wins on the year.

4. Return of the King?: The White Sox’s Jose Contreras had been the king among major league pitchers this season until he was put on the DL. Yesterday he returned to pitch against the Cubs, but the results were only so-so. Contreras pitched 7+ innings and allowed 4 runs, and he got a no-decision on the day. It was the White Sox’s bullpen that blew the game, as they allowed 3 runs to the lowly Cubs. The Sox lost 7-4 to end chances of a sweep against the other Chicago team.

5. When will 715 come?: It took Barry Bonds over a week to hit no. 714, which he did on Saturday against the A’s in case you were in a coma. So how long will it take him to hit 715? The Giants play at home against St. Louis the next three days, then they play Colorado for three in San Fran. We are just guessing here, but it would more likely come against the Rockies based on their crappy pitching. Either then or the Giants’ June 27-29 series against the Rangers, if Bonds waits it out like last time.

MLB General

Full Count for Wed May 17 2006: Yankees and Rangers put on a show

1. Offensive fireworks: The Yankees-Rangers series just seemed poised to be a great hitting series, and Tuesday’s game didn’t disappoint. The Rangers crushed Yankee pitching early, with 9 runs in the first two innings. The Yanks were scoreless at that point, but they never gave up. With a 6-run sixth inning on top of 5 previous runs, the Yankees came back from the 9-run deficit. The epic comeback matched the biggest in Yankees franchise history. With the game tied at 12 entering the ninth, the Rangers scored a run in the top of the inning off Mariano Rivera. But Jorge Posada hit a walkoff, 2-run shot to end this incredible game. Derek Jeter and Posada were the Yankees’ best offensive performers on the night, with a combined 6 hits, 5 runs, and 9 RBIs. For the Rangers, Hank Blalock homered and drove in 4, and Mark Teixeria went 4-5 with two doubles. The Rangers are hit with the loss despite 17 hits, which has to feel pretty bad. They are still leading the AL West at 20-18.

2. Upside down: The White Sox and Devil Rays are at opposite ends of the league, that’s for sure. The Sox have the best record in the majors and are defending world champs, while the Devil Rays are in last as always and their minor league teams are making news for the wrong reasons. With all of this, you would think that the White Sox could easily sweep the team. Wrong. Despite a 6-run 8th inning, the Sox lost to the D’Rays 10-7 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score suggests. Thome and Konerko both homered for Chicago, but the big news was Tampa Bay’s offense. They blasted Sox pitching for 12 hits and 2 homers, knocking out starter Brandon McCarthy in the 4th inning. Carl Crawford and Johnny Gomes each hit 3 ribbies, and Scott Kazmir pitched another fine start. Kazmir allowed one and stuck out 8 to improve to 6-2 on the season. He is on pace for a 25 win season, about the entire team’s win total the past few years.

3. They missed the D-Train: Let’s face it–Marlins ace Dontrelle Willis has been very disappointing this year. But when the Marlins finally got a good game out of him, they lost. Willis pitched 9 innings and allowed only 2 runs, but Braves starter Tim Hudson allowed the same. In extra innings, the Marlins scored a run in the top of the 11th. But the Brave answered back, with an Andruw Jones RBI double and later run, giving them a narrow 4-3 victory. The game wouldn’t have gone to extras if Jeff Francoeur hadn’t hit a game-tying homerun in the 9th. Francoeur is past his slow start–his hitting streak is now at 14 games. Atlanta is now a game away from .500 for the first time since April.

4. News flash!: There were huge, HUGE surprises at Jacobs Field on Tuesday night. The Cleveland Indians came into the game with five straight losses against their opponent, the powerful Kansas City Royals. In fact, wins against the Indians have made up half the Royals’ win total. But last night, the Indians rallied to win the game. Coming into the 9th down 4-3, a Grady Sizemore homer tied the game up. With a runner on and slugger Travis Hafner up, the Royals wouldn’t give him anything to hit, right? Well, no, Hafner actually went yard to win the game. Cleveland was finally able to end an embarrassing streak, though they are still well out of the lead in the suddenly tough AL Central division.

5. It’s almost Lima Time: Anybody who thinks Jose Lima is a good pitcher is nuts. The guy hasn’t been effective this millennium. His career ERA is 5.24. He even has a losing career record. So that’s why we’re glad that he’s getting one last start for the Mets. Plus, it’s just fun to say “It’s Lima Time” whenever he starts. Lima will be filling in for injured rookie Brian Bannister, and filling in poorly. Mets manager Willie said it would be a sign of “panic” to put in Bannister, though we think he will be more panicked watching Lima get knocked out of the third inning.

MLB General

Full Count for Fri May 12 2006: Now that’s a sacrifice hit

1. Rowand wins over the Philly fans: Yesterday was possibly one of the rainiest days in MLB history, as games were called off in Baltimore, Chicago, and Pittsburgh. Though it was also drizzling in Philadelphia, they played anyway, but only for five innings. The Phillies took advantage of the shortened game, winning the game and the series against New York. The only two runs of the game were off a Chase Utley homerun and David Bell’s RBI single. But the play of the day was made by Aaron Rowand in centerfield, who made an unbelievable catch while crashing into the wall with the bases loaded. Rowand was sent to the hospital because he was broke his nose after the collision against the wall. But we’re sure he’s fine–his catch saved the game against the Mets.

2. Are we sure he didn’t get hurt again?: Ken Griffey Jr. is back for the Reds, and no one could have asked for anything more out of him in Thursday’s 5-4 win over the struggling Nationals. Through 8 innings this was a one-run game, but a sacrifice fly in the ninth sent this contest to extras. In the 11th, everything went wild. The Nationals scored three runs in the top of the inning, but the Reds answered back against their bullpen. First Felipe Lopez hit an RBI single, and then it was Griffey’s turn with two on base. Naturally, Griffey hit a 413-foot shot, winning the game and keeping the Reds in first place at 22-13. before the extra inning craziness, Bronson Arroyo had another superb start for Cincy, allowing no runs in 8 innings.

3. It’s Peavy time: Jake Peavy, the Padres’ ace, has struggled throughout most of this season. In fact, he had a losing record coming into last night’s game against the Brewers. Well, his struggles are over now, as he shut out the Brew Crew through seven innings and fanned 13 batters. Peavy (3-3) was even successful at the plate–he went 2-3 and drove in two runs. However, the Padres bullpen almost blew the game, despite being given an 8-run lead with two innings left. Dewon Brazelton, possibly the worst pitcher in the majors, allowed 4 runs and didn’t record and out. Thankfully for Peavy, the Padres still came out on top, 8-5.

4. Double Blow: The Yankees did not have a good day at all on Thursday. They lost to the Red Sox, surrendering the division lead and giving the Red Sox the series win at Yankee Stadium. Mark Loretta went 4-6 and drove in 3 runs, including a go-ahead two-run single in the 7th. Tim Wakefield pitched well for the Sox, striking out nine in 6 innings, and Jonathan Papelbon picked up his league-leading 13th save. Both teams now have 13 losses, though the Red Sox have two more wins. But here’s the worst news for Yankees fans: Hideki Matsui broke his wrist in the first inning and will be out for three months.

5. Cut off: What is it with these ESPN personalities? Rick Sutcliffe, a former Cy Young winner and now a baseball analyst for You-Know-Who, got his mic cut off after a rambling interview during the local TV broadcast of the Padres-Brewers game. The manager of Channel 4 called the interview “embarrassing” and said Sutcliffe used “remarkably poor judgment.” Sutcliffe, a former announcer for Channel 4, joined Matt Vasgersian and Mark “Mud” Grant in the booth during Thursday’s game. The interview started out fine but then Sutcliffe began to talk random topics. He said his daughter was going to Africa “like George Clooney” and asked Vasgersian why he was broadcasting Padres games when he could be working for ESPN. Then his mic was cut off. At least this isn’t the only controversial thing that happened with announcers at Petco Park. I’m sure the name Keith Hernadez reminds you guys of something…