The fairy tale continued for Garrett Jones in Pittsburgh. Garret crashed a 3 run dinger off of a Clayton Kershaw fastball in the first inning to propel the Bucs to an amazing 2-0 start on the season. Maybe more amazing is the fact that Garrett, of all the great Pirate players over the years, is the ONLY Buc to have ever started a season with 3 HRs in the first two games. That’s kinda crazy to believe.
Slide over to Atlanta and there’s another Jones making an impact. Chipper, perhaps looking to solidify his spot as the big rooster in the yard, crushed a go-ahead 2 run Bomb in the 8th to push the Braves to 2-0 on the season. The Braves won it late over the Cubs, 3-2. Who knocked in the other run for Atlanta? Yup. Jason Heyward. He ripped a double to give Atlanta the early lead, but it was Chipper (Jones’n for attention?) that wore the Hero hat for Atanta.
What’s going on in Boston? Curtis Granderson was Grand again for the pinstripers as he crushed a Papelbon offering in the 10th inning to push the Yankees over the BoSox. Curtis is the ONLY player to have more than one HR against POPelBOMB. Another amazing stat for ya ; )
Breaking spells is what they’re trying to do in Kansas City. Sick of the losing, the Royals are looking for magic to happen this year. Well, they got it yesterday. Looking to win a close one 1-0.. they blew it in the 9th when Miguel Cabrera cracked a game tying shot. Whoah is me… the Tigers took the lead in the 11th and the KC faithful were shaking their heads.. same ol’ KC. Not so fast my friend, Alberto Callaspo to the rescue. He hit a game tying HR in the bottom half to ignite the crowd and newcomer Rick Ankiel finished it off with a ringing double! I’m goin to Kansas City.. Kansas City here I come…
How about Ryan Howard and Placido Polanco… the new dynamic duo in Philly. In fact, the top four in the lineup accounted for 7 hits, 7 runs and 4 RBIs! Placido scored 3 times and Ryan knocked in 3 with a HR and a loud double. I’d say the Phightin’s are looking strong already in 2010.
Down in Arizona the D’Backs figured out that Kelly Johnson doesn’t like batting “down” in the
order. They switched him to leadoff and he switched on the bat. O’fer as the 8th man in the first two games, Kelly crushed two HRs and went 3 for 3 in the top spot for Arizona and they put away the Padres 5-3. Kelly pushed his average up to .300 and I’ll bet he stays in the comfort of the leadoff role the rest of the year, something he was accustomed to as a Brave.
While we’re in the West, take a peek at who sits atop the NL at 3-0. For the first time in 7 years the Giants reeled off their first 3 W’s and have the perch for the time being. Aaron Rowand and Edar Renteria have yourselves a game. Aaron had four hits that included a triple. Edgar, well. .he was a perfect 6 for 6 in reaching first base. One was a walk.. five singles.. he played pepper with Houston pitching all night long. SF is enjoying the top spot in the West.
What the heck are they putting in the water up in Oakland? Some kind of Walk Off juice? Two nights in a row the A’s got a walk off hit against Seattle. Can you believe they are sitting on top in the AL West? Last night’s Hero? Kurt Suzuki. He jacked a double in the 9th to score the winner and send the A’s hopeful home with a smile.
Well, the reason the A’s sit atop is because the Jays went to the Well against the Rangers and dropped em with a huge performance from Vernon Wells. Long forgotten as the power source for Toronto, Vernon put on a show in Texas. He had two Huge Home Runs, Scored 4 runs and knocked in 3 as the Jays pushed the Rangers down in the standings. With Adam Lind hitting in front of Vernon and gaining alot of respect from opposing pitchers, he is teeing off when they forget he bats in the four hole for a reason. His big numbers gave Toronto their first win and grabbed a YH award for himself. Congrats Vernon, you are Yesterday’s Hitter.
We’re off and running, or is it… we’re off and walkin’ off? Either way it feels great to turn on the tube and flip through some games to find the exciting ones. Or, just to watch the new team makeups and get reacquainted with the players and the game.
I really like the new unis the Twins are sporting. They are sharp and professional. Real clean. The Twins must like ’em, they shrugged off the first game… slipped back into the stylish grays and spanked the ball all over Anaheim yesterday.
Joe Mauer cracked one out of the park. So did J.J. Hardy. I really like this guy. He’s got a
little more pop then people realize and he’s a solid glove in the middle for Minnesota. But this blog is about hitting and the big hitter for the Twins was not Joe Mauer. It was Justin Morneau, the other half of the M&M boys. This guy is a regular 30/100 machine and he pelted the sphere yesterday in Cali. His two hits led to 2 big runs scored, an RBI from a blast to right field and a 5-3 Minnesota win, their first of the year.
What the heck happened in Boston yesterday? The Yanks squeek one in on a walk? Nick Johnson is hitless so far in 2010 but don’t let that fool ya. He’s got a keen eye and has an OBP of .500… not bad for no hits. A walk was as good as a hit yesterday and it drove in the winning run for New York. Robinson Cano led the offense with his 2 for 3 night that included a Homer and 2 Ribs for the visitors. Nice eye Nick…
In Wisconsin it was the big cheese Cecil Fielder checking in with a 2 for 3 night that tallied 3
runs for the Brew Crew. He also drove in one and walked twice as Milwaukee notched their first win over the Rockies. A nice night for Cecil but he was overshadowed by his infield counterpart, Casey McGeHee. I love that name, kinda rolls right off your tongue. What did Casey do? Not much, just set the tone with a 1st inning 3 run Jack. He added another hit and a walk to go 2 for 3 on the day.
It took the Rays all nine innings to finally overcome the power displayed by the O’s yesterday. It also took Carl Crawford all nine innings to finally tally his first hit of the season. Oh, but it was a good one. His two run bases-loaded double in the bottom of the ninth was a game winner as the Rays walked off on Baltimore 4-3. Nice job Carl, I’m sure we’ll see more of you here in YH throughout the season.
They walked off in California too. Up in Oakland, the A’s needed 10 innings to dispatch the pesky Mariners in a 2-1 barn burner that featured little to no hitting. Mark Ellis was an exception. He racked up 3 hits, all
singles, and made the most of the last one with two outs in the bottom of the 10th. His game winning single drove in the pinch running Patterson to give him his 6th career walk off hit. The AL West has every team in the win column just two games into 2010.
And.. into the win column went the San Diego Padres. They knocked off the Rattlers in Arizona behind Yesterday’s best Hitter – Everth Cabrera!
The little guy rapped the little ball to every corner of Arizona yesterday as he piled up a double, triple and a single. His 3 hits produced 4 big Ribs for the Pads. Everth was the big fly shy of a cycle.. but thats asking alot from the diminutive speedster. He did show off his wheels though. The kid can fly.
Congratulations Everth Cabrera. You are Yesterday’s Hitter!
What a fabulous day for baseball. I can’t think of one game that had poor weather. Bright, Sunny and Clear from Coast to Coast. The Star Spangled Banner was waving proudly and there were plenty of Bombs in the air. Little, White, round ones landing with a thud among the happy masses that gathered for baseball’s greeting of Spring. A lovely day. And speaking of Lovely and The Star Spangled Banner… did you happen to catch that little beauty that sang the National Anthem in the Twins vs. Angels game? Wow. Just one more wonderful thing on our favorite day.
There were familiar names that had worthy games for Yesterday’s Hitter honors, including an old face in a new place – Hideki Matsui. Godzilla mashed a Home Run and added an RBI single in his 2 for 4 day with 2 RBIs.
Another old face in a new place, Hideki’s former Yankee teammate Johnny Damon had a
similar day (sans the HR) with the Tigers. His 2 RBIs helped sink the Royals when Detroit put up a Big 6 in the 7th after being fooled by Greinke for 6 innings.
Pittsburgh’s Ryan Doumit rocked into 2010 with a vengeance. He also put up a 2×4 to start the season. His two hits included a double and 3 run bomb. He also walked once as the Pirates pounded Padilla and the punchless Dodgers 11-5. Ouch.
The defending NL Champ Phillies had no problems providing a little punch to the Opening Day party. Not wanting Obama to be the only one to “dis” the Nats, the Phils ripped Washington pitching for 11 runs. Ryan Howard got his first long ball of the year, but Placido Polanco one-upped the big guy when he belted out a Grand Slam and got himself 6 massive RBIs to kick off his season. Nice job Placido…
In Arlington there was a Texas size cheer for the Rangers as they walked off against the Blue Jays. What a roller coaster for the Jays, Shawn Marcum no-hit Texas into the 7th before they circled the wagons and then circled the bases to come up with a 5-4 thriller. Nelson Cruz saved the day when he smacked a 3 Run jack in the 7th inning to tie the game at 3. Then, just to be sure there was no doubt about who the hero was, he tied the game again in the 9th with an RBI single. Saltalamacchia finished off the Jays with the Game Winner. But, it was Nelson Cruz that tasted the sweetness of victory.
Did I mention the Pirates? Yea, kinda left this guy out for a reason. We’re getting down to the best of the best and it’s hard not to add in a fellow who has really never been given the chance to shine. A career Minor Leaguer, Garret Jones could never seem to crack the lineup for either the Braves or the Twins in 12 years, yet he raked 21 HRs last year after being called up in July. He’s only the second MLB player to hold that distinction. Just to prove he really, really belongs… Garret blasted a Home Run in each of his first two at bats in 2010. I think it’s safe to say he’ll easily eclipse that 20 HR mark in 2010. I’m just guessin’ he’ll be around for awhile. Nice start Jonesy.
Hmm.. well, if a 28yr old Rookie can make a splash… how about the NL MVP? Duh. King Albert looked as magnificent as ever. The polished swing. The slugger’s swagger. Pujols is the real deal and if you doubt it, just look back in history and start comparing his numbers to the greats of the past. He added to those impeccable stats with a tremendous 4 hit performance that included 2 Long Balls, 4 Runs and 3 RBIs. Simply stated, he is King.
And while we expect such fabulous results from the reigning MVP, we are sometimes
provided a glimpse of greatness to come. Opening Day was one of those days. Highly touted and fabulously gifted, Jason Heyward made his Major League debut something to remember. The Atlanta hometown prodigy not only caught the opening pitch from Braves Hall of Famer Henry Aaron, but basked in the chants and cheers from an exuberant Atlanta crowd as he rounded the bases in his very first Major League at bat. What a day for Jason Heyward. He added an RBI single to his 3 Run 1st inning smash and walked off the field into the gratifying hug of another Atlanta icon, Chipper Jones. If Jason fulfills his lofty expectations in this game, he’ll do more than keeping up with the Jones’.
Well, what have we here? A long time rivalry to kick off 2010… on Easter no less! But, sadly for Beckett and CC there were very few eggs on the board. As a matter of fact there were quite a few straight and crooked things alike looking back from the Green Monster.
Speaking of which… the Monster took a beating last night as well. Balls were bouncing off it like a Big Green Easter Bunny. Boing! Boing! Boing!
Youkilis had a regular hand ball game going all by himself. He was belting the ball all over Fenway and found himself in the middle of every comeback the Red Sox mustered. Kevin finished the day with 3 extra base hits, scored 3 times and knocked in 2 Ribs as well.
Two newcomers to the Sox also pitched in to the hit basket with Mike Cameron and Marco Scutaro each notching a couple of hits in their Fenway Park debut.
And the Yanks? Well, they tried everything from hitting the ball over the fence to peppering the fence but it really didn’t seem to matter. They couldn’t hold the leads (of which they had many) and watched as Chan Out of The Park cracked like a delicate egg on the mound.
Kudos to Jorge Posada who was questionable prior to game time and came through with a superb day at the plate. He cracked a Home Run in his first plate appearance and added two more hits for a mini feast of 3 for 4 and 2 Ribs at the dish.
Joining him with the long ball was Curtis Granderson who homered in his first at bat as a Yankee. Nice.. something to remember. Jeter was Jeter.. you know… two hits. Ho Hum.
But the man of the hour was Dustin Pedroia. He looked a bit rusty in the early innings, but once he knocked the dust off that bat of his… he produced in a big way. His hits were big hits at big times in the game. In the 7th with his team down by 2 he tied it with a rocket over the Monster. Then, when some insurance could really come in handy.. he delivered a key RBI to give them a 9-7 lead. The little man was big again and that might be just what the Doctor ordered for the 2010 Red Sox.
Game On! Welcome back baseball.. .we missed You!
Just popping in to say Hi to my friends. I received this poem in my email yesterday and was pretty certain it would be appreciated here.
The Game of Life
by Swen Nater
The Little League game was about to begin,
On a perfectly, wonderful day.
One team sprinted out,
With a spirited shout,
For the boys were excited to play.
As their coach saw the field, with his players in place,
A vision took over his sight.
Each Little League lad
Grew the age of a dad,
Complete with the beard and the height.
His pitcher, an artist, poised to create
On a canvas awaiting and bare.
His stroke on the ball
Made it spin and then fall
When it curved and it carved through the air.
His catcher, a general, positioned in place,
Was leading the rest of the pack.
On his signal and sign,
They joined to combine,
With a quick and successful attack.
His shortstop, a surgeon, whose quickness and skill,
When it seemed like death cast the fate,
On the double, he caught,
What the grave almost got,
And threw lifelessness out at the plate.
His outfield consisted of no lesser men:
Three statesmen with not one reproach.
On third was a preacher,
And on second, a teacher,
On first was a Little League coach.
As the vision grew fainter, he sobered and thought.
The epiphany cut like a knife.
Baseball was more
Than a game and a score;
He was coaching the game of life.
Although this poem relates to the game we all love, baseball… Swen was actually a member of the UCLA team coached by John Wooden! Kinda cool, huh?
I’ll be back soon, just wrapping up a few loose writings.
Wow! It’s all over folks. The 2009 baseball season is in the books and what a book it was! Naturally, I’m a little chagrined over the fact that we don’t get at least one more peek at baseball in a Game 7. But, after last night.. you just couldn’t top it anyway. So be it.
How about Hideki Matsui? I always refer to him as a Professional Hitter, because… well, that’s what he is. A DH. He hits, that’s it. Don’t take my word for it though:
“Matsui is one of my favorite players. He’s one of my favorite teammates. He comes ready to play every day. He’s a professional hitter.” – Derek Jeter
He was so good this World Series and yet, being the DH… he wasn’t in the forefront. He kind of played Peek-A-Boo with us. And he played Hide ‘n Seek with the ball!
Then came Game 6!
“My first and foremost goal when I joined the Yankees was to win the world championship,” Matsui said. “I’m just happy that after all these years we were able to win and reach the goal that I had come here for.”
The Yankees’ 27th World Championship came on the bat of Hideki Matsui, their hired gun. Hiting behind Alex Rodriguez, he served as the protector… and the executioner of bad pitches. His lifetime stats off of Pedro Martinez were no fluke numbers.
Congratulations Mr. Hideki Matsui – 2009 World Series MVP – Yesterday’s Hitter!
I could go on and on about how fun it was to watch Hideki’s hectic swing… but alas, the season is over and we can only hope for Spring to get here quickly.
I hope you all have a wonderful Holiday season and bring your fandom to your team with some fervor in 2010.
Since we have some time to reflect before the big Game 6 tonight, let’s look back into the books to find us a Yesterday’s Hitter. Or, as Jane refers to our throwbacks – a YesterYear’s Hitter.
Caroline… this one’s for you.
It’s November 4th, 2001 in Arizona’s Bank One ballpark for Game 7 of the Series between the NY Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Each team has won every game in their own ballpark to reach this point, the first time that happened since the 1991 season.
Game 6 (don’t look Jane) was a massacre blowout of NY and Andy Pettitte by the Diamondback offense to reach Game 7. They set a World Series record for hits with 22 and handed NY their biggest defeat in 293 post season games. Pettitte was hammered for 6 runs in just two innings in the 15-2 Series tying win.
World Series Game 6 Played on Saturday, November 3, 2001 (N) at Bank One Ballpark
The Yankees were trying to win their 4th World Series ring in a row. They beat the A’s and the Mariners to reach the Series, both were 100 game winners!
True to form, these two battled each other for 5 scoreless innings (hmmm, what do we say about when these big games get “started”?) before the D’Backs finally broke through in the bottom of the 6th. Steve Finley singled and was driven home by Danny Bautista’s double to make it 1-0.
The Yankees, just as they have this year, answered right back in the 7th when an RBI single from Tino Martinez plated Derek Jeter for the tying run.
Curt Schilling stayed on the mound for the 8th inning. Curt was pitching on 3 days rest and had thrown over 300 innings in 2001. It was his 3rd start in the WS, Games 1,4 and 7. In the top of the 8th Alfonso Soriano crushed a Curt Schilling pitch into the seats to give the Yankees a 2-1 advantage.
But, this World Series featured several late inning comebacks (Including the 1st Mr. November Home Run) that marked it as one of the more thrilling contests in recent memory.
Rivera mowed down the D’Backs in the 8th. He struck out the heart of the lineup; Luis Gonzales (who had 57 HRs in ’01), Matt Williams (who HR’d in Game 2) and Danny Bautista who was having a big Series. The Yankees still led 2 to 1 going into the 9th.
The bottom of the 9th inning brought one of my favorite players to the plate to leadoff, former Cub Mark Grace (now a Fox Sports analyst). Mark led off the inning with a single into center.
The crowd got a little louder. Remember, this was indoors… this being Game 7.. .you can imagine the noise. Well, I hope you can.
Next up was Damian Miller. Bob Brenly, manager for the D’Backs, had put in a Pinch Runner for Grace (not the fastest guy you ever met) and was playing small ball with Miller. Miller’s bunt was fielded by Mariano Rivera who turned to 2nd and threw it away!
The tying, and winning, runs were on base with no outs!
Now can you hear the crowd?
Brenly ordered another bunt from the next hitter, Jay Bell, in an attempt to move up the runners. It didn’t work. Rivera threw out Pinch Runner David Dellucci at 3rd. 1 out and the tying run was at 2nd.. the potential winning run was at 1st.
Bob Brenly was pulling all the strings. He sent in another Pinch Runner at 1st, speedster Midre Cummings. When Tony Womack ripped a 2-2 pitch down the right field line for a game tying RBI double, the place went bonkers.
Now can you hear em?
The winning run was at 3rd base with only one out. Joe Torre did the only thing he could do.. he pulled the infield in trying to choke off the run. It backfired when Luis Gonzalez (he of the 57 HRs) hit it where they weren’t… a tiny little bloop that just cleared Derek Jeter and landed softly in the outfield grass… barely.
The winning run scored and now I know you can hear the crowd. If not, wait until tonight and then magnify the crowd by about ten : )
Hope you enjoyed our YesterYear’s Hitter – Luis Gonzalez.