The Yankees are nearing an agreement on a 1-year deal worth approximately $5 Million with free agent 1B/DH Nick Johnson.
Johnson was coveted by the Yankees, Giants, and Mariners.
Johnson was a former Yankee that was traded away along with Randy Choate and Juan Rivera for Javier Vazquez back in 2003. The Yankees drafted Johnson in 1996.
Johnson, whose .426 OBP this year leads all free agents, was wanted by the Yankees mainly for the great On Base Percentage, the fact that he hits well against lefties, and the fact that he is a lefty-hitter himself. With Matsui gone and Damon probably leaving, this was the Yankees big chance to sign a lefty-hitter.
INSTANT ANALYSIS: Since it is a one-year deal, I like it. Even if Johnson is injury-prone, he still puts up good numbers when he plays. This move allows the Yankees to stick the Melky/Gardner combo in left.
Hideki Matsui won the World Series MVP award. Congrats to him and the Yankees and lets enjoy the moment, folks.
AJ Burnett gets rocked early, Yankees unable to complete the comeback late
FINAL SCORE: YANKEES 6 PHILLIES 8 (F9th)
- Top of the 1st: Johnny Damon singles to center field. Alex Rodriguez doubles to right field, Damon scores (NYY 1, PHI 0)
- Bottom of the 1st: Jimmy Rollins singles to center field. Shane Victorino hit by pitch. Chase Utley homers to right field. Rollins, Victorino, & Utley scores (NYY 1, PHI 3)
- Bottom of the 3rd: Chase Utley walks. Ryan Howard walks. Jayson Werth singles to center field. Utley scores, Howard to 2nd base (NYY 1, PHI 4)
- Bottom of the 3rd: Raul Ibanez singles to right field. Howard scores, Werth to 3rd (NYY 1, PHI 5)
- Bottom of the 3rd: Carlos Ruiz grounds into a force out, Werth scores (NYY 1, PHI 6)
- Top of the 5th: Eric Hinske draws a 1-out walk. Derek Jeter singles to right field, Hinske to 3rd. Johnny Damon gounds out softly to first base, Hinske scores (NYY 2, PHI 6)
- Bottom of the 7th: Chase Utley homers to right field (NYY 2, PHI 7)
- Bottom of the 7th: Raul Ibanez homers to right field (NYY 2, PHI 8)
- Top of the 8th: Johnny Damon gets an infield hit. Mark Teixeira doubles to left field, Damon to 3rd. Alex Rodriguez doubles to left field, Damon & Teixeira scores (NYY 4, PHI 8)
- Top of the 8th: Nick Swisher moves the runner (ARod) to 3rd on a ground out to 1st. Robinson Cano out on a sacrifice out, Rodriguez scores (NYY 5, PHI 8)
- Top of the 9th: Jorge Posada doubles. Hideki Matsui singles to left field, Posada to 3rd. Derek Jeter hits into a double play, Posada scores (NYY 6, PHI 8)
STARTING PITCHING (from Yahoo Sports)
- AJ Burnett: 2 innings, 4 hits allowed, 6 earned runs, 4 BB, 1 HR, 2 SO, 7.00 ERA
- Cliff Lee: 7 innings, 7 hits allowed, 5 earned runs, 3 BB, 3 SO, 2.81 ERA
KEY PERFORMERS: Chase Utley 2-for 3 with 2 HRs and 4 RBI
OBSERVATIONS: 10 down, 1 to go.
After a ghoulish start Andy Pettitte & the Yankees’ bats come alive…it’s aliiiive, it’s aliiiiive!!!
FINAL SCORE: YANKEES 8 PHILLIES 4 (F9th)
- Bottom of the 2nd: Jayson Werth homers to left field (NYY 0, PHI 1)
- Bottom of the 2nd: Pedro Feliz hits a 1-out double to right field. Carlos Ruiz walks. Cole Hamels singles on a bunt to load the bases. Jimmy Rollins walks, Pedro Feliz scores (NYY 0, PHI 2)
- Bottom of the 2nd: Bases Loaded. Shane Victorino out on a sacrifice fly to left field, Carlos Ruiz scores (NYY 0, PHI 3)
- Top of the 4th: Mark Teixeira works a 1-out walk, Alex Rodriguez homes to right field. Mark Teixeira scores (NYY 2, PHI 3)
- Top of the 5th: Nick Swisher doubles to left field to begin the inning. After Melky Cabrera strikes out, Andy Pettitte singles to center field, Nick Swisher scores (NYY 3, PHI 3)
- Top of the 5th: Derek Jeter singles to left field, Andy Pettitte to 2nd. Johnny Damon doubles to center field, Pettitte and Jeter scores (NYY 5, PHI 3)
- Top of the 6th: Nick Swisher homers to left field (NYY 6, PHI 3)
- Bottom of the 6th: Jayson Werth homers to left field (NYY 6, PHI 4)
- Top of the 7th: Johnny Damon is issued a 1-out walk. Mark Teixeira strikes out, Johnny Damon steals 2nd base. Alex Rodriguez hit by pitch. Jorge Posada singles to left field, Damon scores (NYY 7, PHI 4)
- Top of the 8th: Hideki Matsui homers on a fly ball to left field (NYY 8, PHI 4)
STARTING PITCHING (from Yahoo Sports)
- Andy Pettitte: 6 innings, 4 hits allowed, 4 earned runs, 3 BB, 7 SO, 6.00 ERA
- Cole Hamels: 4 & 1/3 innings, 5 hits allowed, 5 earned runs, 2 BB, 3 SO, 10.38 ERA
KEY PERFORMERS: After giving up 3 runs in the first 2 innings of work, Andy Pettitte settled down striking out 7 hitters in 6 innings. Alex Rodriguez put the Yankees on the board with a 2-run HR that seem to ignite the Yankee offense, he was on base 4 times including a walk. Nick Swisher had the breakout game he’d been waiting for, he went 2-for-4 including a double and a HR.
COMMENTARY: Halloween’s origins can be traced to an ancient Celtic festival known at Samhain. The Celts celebrated new years on November 1st and it was believed that the night before the new year the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. Aside from causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts believed that these spirits made it easier for the Celtic priests to predict the future. Over 2,000 years later can the Yankees performance on Halloween night be a predictor of what’s to come in this series?
It was a harrowing start for the pinstripes, the hour and twenty minute rain delay seemed to have quite an effect on Andy Pettitte. The Phillies were able to strike early and throw Pettitte off his game, even giving up a walk with the bases loaded. Cole Hamels was sharp and for the first 3 innings seemed to be a reincarnation of the 2008 World Series MVP. A zombie-like version of the Yankees made an early appearance in game 3, they were sloppy on pitching, hitting, and on defense.
But in the dawn of the 4th inning, after a 1-out walk to Mark Teixeira the man they call A-Rod hit on opposite field HR that would have to be reviewed, and the Yankees lineup got a much needed shot of electricity that seem to carry to the pitching as well. In a 7 game series not every win or loss can be a defining one. After they even out the series in Game 2 there were very large questions remaining for the Yankees to answer. A-Rod was 0-for-8 with 6 strikeouts, there was no consistent contribution from the bottom of the lineup, and the bridge to Mariano was non-existent.Winning the first game in Philadelphia to go up 2-to-1 in the series was big, no doubt about it. But the way the Yankees secured this victory may be an indication of how they will fare the rest of the series.
Alex Rodriguez ends his 0-fer with a 2-run HR. Rodriguez was on base 4 times, did not strike out and drew a walk in his last at-bat. He looked like someone breathed life into him, his demeanor and approach at the plate was more relaxed and deliberate and it looked like the ALCS version of A-Rod had resurfaced. Nick Swisher who has been struggling all postseason long, took his benching like a man, and returned to make big contributions with his bat hitting a double and a home run in 2 of his 4 at bats and scoring the tieing run. Chamberlain and Marte were solid, I don’t know if the bridge is complete but these two may be the pillars on which the highway to Mariano are built.
This series is far from over and there is no indication that the defending World Champions will make it easy for the Yankees to win their 27th World Series. Every game has it’s own nuance, tempo and flow, but beyond the win Yankee fans should feel optimistic about the contributions that were made up and down the lineup and the performance of this much maligned bullpen.
Burnett & the long ball help even out the series for the Yanks
FINAL SCORE: YANKEES 3 PHILLIES 1 (F9th)
- Top of the 2nd: Raul Ibanez hits a 2-out double to left field. Matt Stairs singles on a sharp ground ball to left field, Ibanez scores (NYY 0, PHI 1)
- Bottom of the 4th: Mark Teixeira homers to right center field (NYY 1, PHI 1)
- Bottom of the 6th: Hideki Matsui homers on a golf shot to right field (NYY 2, PHI 1)
- Bottom of the 7th: Jerry Hairston and Melky Cabrera begin the inning with back to back singles. Brett Garner comes in to pinch run for Hairston. Jorge Posada pinch hitting for Molina hits a single to center field. Brett Gardner scores (NYY 3, PHI 1)
STARTING PITCHING (from Yahoo Sports)
- AJ Burnett: 7 innings, 4 hits allowed, 1 earned run, 2 BB, 9 SO, 1.29 ERA
- Pedro Martinez: 6 innings, 6 hits allowed, 3 earned runs, 2 BB, 8 SO, 4.50 ERA
KEY PERFORMERS: AJ Burnett pitched a gem through 7 innings of work, Teixeira and Matsui provided the bulk of the offense with 2 homeruns, Mariano closed out the game with a 6 out save.
COMMENTARY: During his pregame conference AJ Burnett talked about not being so careless “just throwing balls over the middle to get strike one”. You have to give it up to AJ because that is exactly what he did, throwing 1st pitch strikes to 21 of the 26 batters he faced. It was a coming out party for Burnett who had yet to record a win, or a loss for that matter, in the postseason. Prior to this start there were a lot of questions about Burnett’s ability to handle the big stage, specially given his rocky start in the close-out game of the ALCS series and the pressure of securing a win after a Sabathia loss. No doubt, AJ answered his critics.
He was dealing throughout the night, ringing up 9 batters and out-pitching Pedro to rack up a win in his first World Series start. The Yankees offense was subdued to start the night until Teixeira hit a long shot to right center field to tie the game at the bottom of the 4th inning and later in the 6th Matsui hit a golf shot to right field to give the team a lead they would not relinquish. Burnett’s 7 innings of solid work also allowed Girardi to set aside the nowhere bridge to Mariano Rivera and get Mo to close out the game with a 6-out save.
AJ’s performance in game 2 of the World Series is another reminder that everyone in this team contributes to its success and you may not now who will provide the next stellar performance of the series.
TALE OF THE TAPE: GAME 1 STARTERS
YANKEES – A.J. Burnett
“I won’t change anything as far as my plan or my attack, just maybe not be so careless from the get go — just throwing balls over the middle to get strike one.”
- 2009 Regular Season – 13-9, 33 GS, 4.04 ERA
- Burnett is yet to win or loose through 3 games in the postseason, while posting a 4.42 ERA.
- He has pitched better at home than on the road this season with a 5-3 win/loss record and a 3.51 ERA, but he’s had no success against Philadelphia the only time he faced them this year taking a loss with a sky high ERA of 7.50 and allowing 3 HR.
KEY STAT: Led league with 97 walks and 17 wild pitches.
- Pedro Feliz, 2-for-15
- Carlos Ruiz, 3-for-3, HR
PHILLIES – Pedro Martinez
“I don’t know if you realize this, but because of you guys, in some ways, I might be at times the most influential player that ever stepped [on to the field] at Yankee Stadium.”
- 2009 Regular Season – 5-1, 9 GS, 3.63 ERA
- Pedro Martinez has a win/loss record of 6-and-2 in his postseason career with a 3.13 ERA through 12 games.
- Martinez has been here before, facing the Yankees at Yankee Stadium during the post season. Throughout his career he has played well in Yankee Stadium with an 8-and-4 record through 16 games and an ERA of 2.95. But he’s fared very poorly in the postseason against the Yankees.
KEY STAT: Allowed 7 HRs in 44 2/3 IP
- Hideki Matsui, 4-for-28
- Alex Rodriguez, 16-for-55, HR
TV: FOX 7:57 PM ET
COMMENTARY: A.J. Burnett has yet to secure a win in postseason play. In his last outing to closeout the ALCS, Burnett had a rocky first inning to start the game and later in the 6th, playing with a lead, gave up lead-off hit and a walk to start the inning. Pedro Martinez is 0-for-2 with a 5.93 ERA in his past five postseason appearances against the Yankees, along with some terrible playoff memories in Yankee Stadium. Something’s got to give.
Girardi has orchestrated a way for Burnett to pitch only at home during the World Series, where he is most comfortable. The Yankees are hoping that Burnett limits his walks and wild pitches, settles down and gives them a solid outing to even out the series. Charlie Manuel is following a similar line of thought, saving Jaime Moyer for game 1 at Citizens Park where he’s racked up a better record. The Phillies send an experience Pedro Martinez to the mound in the hopes that he can give them enough solid innings before the well rested bullpen is called into action.
Without further ado, here is the interview in its entirety:
1. In a recent blog post I debated whether I would prefer Ryan Howard or Mark Teixeira for this series….which would you take?
Right now I would take Howard. He’s as hot as anyone not named Alex Rodriguez, and he’s even getting Rodriguez a run for his money. I got to see Howard hit quite a bit in Scranton, and he’s more than just a pull-the-ball power hitter. He can go the other way. He can move runners. He’s not awful at first base. On the whole, though, I think Teixeira is a more complete player. Just hard to overlook what Howard’s done this postseason.
2. With Pedro Martinez starting game 2, do you think the Yankees or Pedro have the upper hand? (Which has the advantage in that matchup)
I think Pedro’s a little different pitcher than he used to be. He’s still mixing his pitches, but this isn’t going to be the same Pedro that Jeter and Posada and the rest remember from Boston. I’m not sure the experience against one another plays a huge role, but certainly this is going to be a tough place to pitch for Martinez and this Yankees lineup is awfully dangerous. I’ll take this Yankees lineup over an aging Martinez, but I’ll say that respectfully. The guy can still pitch. Just ask the Dodgers.
3. Do you think the Yankees will go with a 3 man or a 4 man rotation for the World Series? Which would you do?
Four man. That’s what I think they’ll do and that’s what I would do. I would pitch Sabathia in Game 4 and Gaudin in Game 5. That leaves a fully rested Burnett/Pettitte for Game 6, and the off day between 5 and 6 means the Yankees can burn through a ton of relievers without losing them for the next game.
4. Do you think the set-up man role is open right now? Girardi has stuck by Hughes, but if Hughes struggles?
I still think Hughes has the job, mostly because Chamberlain hasn’t been lights out. He’s allowed some hits of his own. I’m a huge Robertson believer, and I think the eighth inning might be his one day, but I’m not sure a few big outs by Robertson and a couple of bad innings by Hughes is enough to swap roles. Hughes earned this spot and I’m not sure anyone has done enough to take it from him.
5. Having covered the Phillies farm system in the past, can you give us some background on their core players?
Utley is the best player I ever saw in Scranton. He and I weren’t especially close — he was never particularly comfortable with the media back then — but he’s a terrific, terrific hitter. I touched on Howard, who can do more than hit home runs. He has a lot of power to left-center. Victorino isn’t so underrated anymore thanks to the all-star game, but he’s had a lot of talent for a long time. Good speed. Good power. Terrific arm. I’ve said before that I think Victorino is the kind of player the Yankees hope Austin Jackson becomes. Don’t count out Carlos Ruiz. His numbers aren’t good, but he’s a dangerous hitter and does good work behind the plate. He works great with pitchers. That’s why he’s remained an everyday catcher.
6. What do you think is the biggest problem for the Yankees going into the World Series?
I think there should be a little bit of concern about the middle of the order, outside of Rodriguez. Teixeira and Matsui got it done this season, but both have been a bit cold in the playoffs and I think the Yankees need both of them to break out oit.
7. For the Phillies?
The bullpen. The rotation has some question marks, but the bullpen is full of them. Brad Lidge has pitched really well this postseason, but I don’t know any Phillies fan who feels particularly comfortable with him in the ninth. And getting to him is hardly a sure thing.
8. Any bold predictions for the series?
Nothing too bold, but I’ll say Teixeira snaps out of it and Utley gives the Yankees more trouble than Howard.
- Who wins, how many games? Yankees in six.
- Best starter? Sabathia.
- Best Hitter? Utley.
- Best Reliever? Rivera, with Hughes getting back on course in the eighth.
- World Series MVP? Jeter.