Results tagged ‘ Mariano Rivera ’
When I made the bold prediction a couple months ago that the New York Yankees would have a great season despite all of the injuries to their lineup, going as far as to say they’ll make the playoffs, I didn’t have many people behind me, agreeing with my opinion. And that’s fine, I’m used to it. But now I get the pleasure of early-season bragging rights, as the Yankees have hung in there, sitting atop the American League East.
Though there’s still a lot of the season left, I think things will only go up from here.
Let me point out that while I predicted a playoff run, I was going more on a wild card spot, rather than a division title, getting them in. I never saw them above second or third place throughout the season. But now, with them sitting in first place, combined with Curtis Granderson expected to return any day, I could see the Yankees extending their lead even further; especially once Mark Teixeira returns next month.
What it’s come down to for the Yankees is the stepping up of every single player in the lineup. Not just the key fixtures, in Robinson Cano, Ichiro Suzuki and even Brett Gardner, but the newcomers in Vernon Wells, Lyle Overbay and Travis Hafner. Everyone up and down the lineup has been doing a great job of not worrying about who they’re missing and just going out and playing great baseball–going 16-0 when they score first, so far this season.
The Yankees are certainly being helped out by the other teams in the division, which have been playing fairly poorly as of late–the Red Sox are 4-8 this month–but that’s not to take anything away from them. They’ve been surprisingly good for a surprising long period of time.
But just how good can the Yankees become?
If you ask me, the first month of the season is a sign of things to come. Once the Yankees get back their big bats in Granderson and Teixeira, they’ll get even better, which may seem impossible with the way they’re currently playing. If their pitching rotation can keep on the same pace, though it could always be better, I can fully see the Yankees making the playoffs, as I originally predicted.
The baseball world spent most of Saturday focused on the New York Yankees; more specifically, on Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. Both played in their first official games since being injured last season–Jeter with a broken ankle, Rivera with a torn ACL–and, not all that shockingly, both had great Spring Training debuts. A good sign for the Yankees.
But the big news of the day wasn’t the debuts of two veteran Yankees, but rather the announcement by all time saves leader, Mariano Rivera, that the 2013 season would be his last.
“Now is the time”, stated the 43-year-old Rivera, in an early morning press conference. “I have given everything, and the time is almost ending. The thing that I have, the little gas I have left is everything for this year. After that, I’ll empty everything. There’s nothing left. I did everything, and I’m proud of it. That’s why it’s time.”
The time would have come at the end of the 2012 season, had Rivera not have suffered from a torn ACL. An injury which occurred while Rivera was shagging fly balls–his normal pregame routine–during batting practice in Kansas City. But, as expected, Rivera didn’t want to go out like that.
No, not Mariano Rivera. Wanting to go out on his own terms, he has far greater plans.
“The last game, I hope, will be throwing the last pitch in the World Series”, said Rivera. “That’s how I envision to be my last game of my last pitch on the mound. Winning the World Series, that would be my ambition.”
A great ambition indeed, but one that will be somewhat hard to pull off, in my opinion. As although I foresee the Yankees barely making the playoffs this year, with all of the injuries the team currently suffers, I’m not so sure they can make a deep playoff run.
For Mariano Rivera’s sake, I sure hope I’m wrong.
Having already broken a number of MLB records in his 18 seasons, all spent with the Yankees, the 12-time All-Star already has a resume to go out as one of the games’ greats, but a sixth World Series ring would obviously be icing on the cake.
It would truly make for a storybook ending to a storybook career.
Around a month ago, I blogged about the through the mail (TTM) autograph requests I was planning to send off to players during Spring Training. At the end of the post, I stated that I was going to be publishing a blog post every time I received back a couple autographs. Having received two more TTM autograph requests since my last update, I’ve now gotten back half of the requests I sent out, so I figured I’d post another update:
CASEY KELLY–PADRES ORGANIZATION
Casey Kelly is currently ranked as the number 69 prospect in all of baseball, according to MLB.com. He would probably be higher had it of not been for an elbow injury he endured for most of last season. An injury that limited Kelly to just 14 games pitched; 6 of which came in the majors. In the 6 games pitched at the big league level, Kelly went 2-3, with a 6.21 ERA, but showed signs of his readiness to be a major league pitcher. If Kelly doesn’t begin the season with the Padres, it would be a real shame. He has the ability to be an impact player for an improving Padres team.
JASON MOTTE–ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Although the ink from the autograph smudged off a bit in the mail, I’m very happy to add Jason Motte’s autograph to my collection. Topping out at 100, and regularly hitting the upper 90’s, Motte’s overpowering fastball is what makes him one of the best closers in the game. Last season, Motte saved a total of 42 games for the Cardinals, recording 86 strikeouts in 72 innings pitched, on a 2.75 ERA. This season should see Motte posting more of the same type of stats as last year.
I still have autograph requests out for Mariano Rivera, Adam Jones, Tyler Skaggs, A.J. Pierzynski and Justin Masterson, so hopefully they’ll come back soon, so I can write about them; though there’s no guarantee they’ll come back at all.
A few weeks ago, I blogged about the through the mail (TTM) autograph requests I was planning to send off to players during Spring Training. At the end of the post, I stated that I was going to be publishing a blog post every time I received back a few autographs, and now that I’ve successfully gotten back some of the requests I sent, I figured I’d go ahead and type this entry up.
Of the ten total TTM’s I sent off, I’ve received three of them back, with them being from:
STEFEN ROMERO–MARINERS ORGANIZATION
Stefen Romero’s 2012 season was truly remarkable. Batting .352 with 23 home runs and 101 RBI’s, including 34 doubles, between A+ and AA, Romero showed his ability to produce stats far above what’s generally expected from a 12th round draft pick. If he can keep on producing the same type of numbers in the coming season, it shouldn’t be too long before he’s helping out the big league club, up in Seattle.
DANNY HULTZEN–MARINERS ORGANIZATION
Danny Hultzen is currently ranked as the number 18 overall prospect in all of baseball, according to MLB.com. Though a promotion from AA to AAA, mid-season, resulted in a bit of a struggle for Hultzen, overall, he had a decent 2012 season, posting a 9-7 record, with a 3.05 ERA. If Hultzen can find his groove again this season it wouldn’t be that big of a surprise if he receives a call up from the Mariners towards the end of the year.
SONNY GRAY–ATHLETICS ORGANIZATION
Though he had a rocky 2012 season–going 6-9 with a 4.26 ERA–many are still thinking that Sonny Gray will eventually pan out to become the front line starter he’s projected to become. I have to agree, and certainly hope so. Gray ended the 2012 season with AAA, and as with Hultzen, if he can get his pitching consistency back under control, Gray could earn a job pitching for the Oakland A’s at some point this season.
I still have autograph requests out for Mariano Rivera, Adam Jones, Casey Kelly, Tyler Skaggs, Jason Motte, A.J. Pierzynski and Justin Masterson, so hopefully they’ll come back soon, so I can write about them; though there’s no guarantee they’ll come back at all.
The first players reported to Spring Training nearly two weeks ago, however, the first official games are taking place today. The Tigers are set to take on the Braves at 1:05 EST, with the Reds-Indians, Royals-Rangers and Padres-Mariners games all beginning at 3:05 EST. The remaining teams are all playing their first game on Saturday.
With the first official baseball games of the season starting up, I wanted to take the time to post a “top players” list, of sorts, but instead of making my own version of a top 10 list, or whatever, I decided to make a list of the top player for each year of age throughout Major League Baseball. Meaning, of the 20 year olds in MLB, I’ll list the player I feel is the overall best of them all. With the same holding true for the players age 21, 22, 23, 24, and so on.
The range of ages runs from 20 years old, with Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, etc., all the way up to age 43, with Mariano Rivera. Just so you know, I’m going by the age each player will be to start the season. Therefore, a few players will be listed a year older than they currently are, due to them having a birthday between now and April 1st.
With there being SO many names, I’m not going to be listing my reasoning behind each pick; just a general list with players’ names. The player I feel is the best for their age category can be either a position player, or a pitcher:
20 years old: Bryce Harper
21 years old: Mike Trout
22 years old: Shelby Miller
23 years old: Giancarlo Stanton
24 years old: Stephen Strasburg
25 years old: Clayton Kershaw
26 years old: Felix Hernandez
27 years old: Evan Longoria
28 years old: Prince Fielder
29 years old: Miguel Cabrera
30 years old: Justin Verlander
31 years old: Josh Hamilton
32 years old: C.C. Sabathia
33 years old: Albert Pujols
34 years old: Cliff Lee
35 years old: Roy Halladay
36 years old: Michael Young
37 years old: David Ortiz
38 years old: Derek Jeter
39 years old: Ichiro Suzuki
40 years old: Andy Pettitte
41 years old: Henry Blanco
42 years old: Jason Giambi
43 years old: Mariano Rivera
So, there you have it. The best players by age, in my opinion, from 20 through 43, going into the 2013 season. Do you agree with my picks? If not, who would you pick to replace the name(s) you disagree with? Let me know in the comments section below.
Today marks the official reporting date for pitchers and catchers to Spring Training, and therefore, after nearly four months since the Giants won the 2012 World Series, it’s officially time for baseball once again. For die-hard baseball fans, like myself, this long awaited day couldn’t have come sooner.
The Red Sox, Rockies, Cubs and Indians had their pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on Sunday, however, the majority of pitchers and catchers are set to report to camp sometime over the course of the next 48 hours: The D-back’s, Braves, Reds, Tigers, Astros, Royals, Marlins, Mets, Athletics and Pirates reporting date is today, with the Orioles, White Sox, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers, Twins, Yankees, Cardinals, Padres, Giants, Mariners, Rays, Rangers, Blue Jays and Nationals set to report tomorrow. (The Phillies’ pitchers and catchers report on Wednesday.)
Once all of the pitchers and catchers have reported, on Wednesday, there will be a mere 45 days until the first official game of the 2013 MLB regular season, which begins on March 31st, with the Houston Astros taking on the Texas Rangers.
But I’m not quite ready to jump ahead to the start of the regular season, just yet, as I still have a lot I want to talk about in the coming weeks. Therefore, for the time being, I’d like to take a minute to discuss something I love to do this time of year (besides watch Spring Training games on TV.) Every Spring Training, for the past two or three years, I’ve sent out a handful of through the mail (TTM) autograph requests to different players around the league. This year, I’m going to be sending out a dozen, or so, TTM’s, with the best player being Mariano Rivera.
Rivera is known to be one of the better TTM autograph signers (as far as big name players go), if you send to him during Spring Training, however, I’ve failed to get back an auto from Rivera in either of the past two years that I’ve sent to him. This year, I’m hoping to have better luck, as with this (more than likely) being Rivera’s final season, it’s basically my final shot.
While Rivera is the player that I’m most hoping to receive back, he’s not the only well known player that I’m hoping to obtain a signature from. In addition to Rivera, I’m sending out requests to guys like Jason Motte, Adam Jones, Justin Masterson, etc., who, according to what I’ve read, are decent signers through the mail.
I’m also planning to send to a few minor league players, who received an invitation to big league Spring Training, including Danny Hultzen, Casey Kelly and Stefen Romero, who are all supposed to be great about signing.
As stated, my overall TTM autograph history is a short one; I’ve only been doing it for the past few years. In that short time, however, I’ve acquired a few decent players’ autographs. My best ever success, which coincidentally was my first success, came from Mark McGwire, back in March of 2011. Apparently, McGwire doesn’t sign TTM all that often, but for some reason he decided to do so for a few weeks during Spring Training. Needless to say, I was extremely excited to get that one back.
I’m planning to post a blog entry for every autograph I receive back from the players I’m sending TTM requests to during Spring Training. Hopefully, it won’t be all that terribly long before I start getting them back (maybe a few weeks?). So be sure to check back for that, over the course of the next few months….
The original plan for Alex Rodriguez, after undergoing hip surgery on January 16th, was for him to be fully recovered, and ready to play, by the second half of July; August at the latest. That plan may not pan out, however, as in an interview on Friday, Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman stated that there’s the possibility Rodriguez could end up missing all of 2013, saying, “I think because [of] the serious nature of the surgery and the condition that he’s trying to recover from, you know, there is that chance.”
While Cashman’s comments are worthy of attention, for Yankees fans across the country, I don’t feel they’re worthy of panic. The Yankees have always seemed to be able to find a way to win, most of the time, even when their chances looked poor. Though the Yankees appear to have their backs against the wall, I feel, with or without Rodriguez in the lineup, the Yankees will once again find a way to make it to the playoffs in the coming season.
How deep they make it into the playoffs is yet to be seen.
Looking at the Yankees’ roster, even without Rodriguez, I see a group of players that have the ability to dominate, but it’s going to come down to whether or not they’re able to perform as well as they’re capable of, throughout the entire season. If they let up, even for a few weeks, it’s likely that either the Orioles, or the newly revamped Blue Jays, will pass them up, and never look back. That’s what I feel the Yankees need to be worried about; not losing A-Rod, but losing momentum.
For me, the key player to the Yankees’ success in 2013, as it has been for the past decade, is Derek Jeter. While the looming loss of Rodriguez is a definite blow to the team, the Yankees have a decent replacement for him, in Kevin Youkilis. Though Youkilis doesn’t have the kind of pop that A-Rod possesses, when healthy, Youkilis is just as good, if not slightly better, of a defender than Rodriguez, at the hot corner. The way I see it, right now, the Yankees can survive without Rodriguez, but in the event that Jeter doesn’t return completely healthy, the Yankees, in my mind, are set to have a very disappointing season; for their standards, at least.
As stated, I truly do feel the Yankees have the players they need to make 2013 an outstanding year. While they’ll be without Rodriguez until at least July–with the possibly of losing him for the entire year–the lineup still has enough pop to make the Yankees a great team. Although the offseason, thus far, brought the loss of Nick Swisher to the Indians, and Russell Martin to the Pirates, I don’t feel those two players leaving will hurt the Yankees all that terribly much. Thus, I like the Yankees chances in 2013; especially with a healthy Mariano Rivera.
If, however, the Yankees end up suffering in the coming season, I’m not going to throw all the blame on Alex Rodriguez. Sure, Rodriguez, when healthy, plays a major part in whether or not the Yankees win, but in the end, you have to play with the players you have. And as far as I can see, the Yankees have the players they need to win, and win often.
It’s been two weeks since my last update of my favorite players, and a lot has happened:
Since my last entry, Heath Bell earned another two saves. This brings his career saves to 96. Heath is off to a great start this year, as he is still perfect in saves versus save opportunities. (5 for 5.) Heath’s most recent top play included him striking out Phillies slugger Ryan Howard. When Heath gets to 100 saves I’m going to write a blog entry about him, so check back when he reaches the milestone. (The Padres are currently 9-17.)
Derek Jeter currently has 2,949 hits for his career. (See my milestone tab to the right.) This leaves him just 51 hits away from 3,000. It’s hard to predict when exactly Jeter will reach the milestone. Reason being, is that he’s not consistent. On one night he might not get any hits. And on another, he might get 4 hits. He’s that unpredictable. Unpredictable or not, Jeter’s average is currently .258. Not horrible, but not great either. (The Yankees are currently 14-9.)
Tim has had three starts since my last entry. Lincecum was pitching just like him nickname, “The Freak”, would suggest he should on April 18th. He came close to a no hitter, taking it into the sixth inning. Since that great game, Lincecum’s last two starts have been terrible. Giving up 8 runs combined over the last two games. Tim’s current ERA is 2.90, with a win-loss record of 2-3. (The Giants are currently 12-13.)
Albert Pujols is currently tagged with a .255 batting average. The bad part about his batting average is that it doesn’t reflect how well he’s been playing lately. Since my last entry Pujols has been hitting the ball a lot better. He is up to 7 home runs this season. Giving him 415 home runs for his career. It is rare to see Albert batting under .300, though I feel he’ll get it above the .300 mark before the beggining of June. (The Cardinals are currently 15-11.)
Mariano Rivera has a current saves to saves oppotunity ratio of 8 for 10. Yes, that means Mo’s not perfect. He did blow two saves since my last entry. But hey, he’s still leading the AL East in saves with 8. So he’s still the best closer in baseball. Just not perfect as we ALL thought. (Or at least, I did.) Mariano currently has 567 career saves. Which means he’s just 35 away from the all time saves record.
OTHER GENERAL BASEBALL NEWS
Ozzie Guillen was suspended for two games after tweeting about the ejection call by home the home plate umpire, during the game.
Andre Ethier has a current hitting streak of 25 straight games. (Let’s hope I don’t jinx it.)
Johnny Damon had a 16 game hitting streak until losing it in last nights game versus the Angels.
I’ll try to post a new entry every Saturday for the rest of the season, but I can’t promise it. I’ll do my best to do so, but I am sometimes REALLY busy on the weekends. But hopefully I’ll be able to get the job done.
I’m adding a new feature to the bottom of my updates. A days ’til my next Major League ballgame stat. And it’s starting in this entry:
Reds Vs. Yankees— 52 days
As you may have already noticed, I LOVE organization. And thus, I LOVE lists. So I thought it would be fun to write a blog entry about my five favorite current bullpen entrances in baseball. Like all of my other lists, these are in NO particular order:
MARIANO RIVERA(“Enter Sandman”)
Mariano Rivera has an entrance that classifies under the category of just a “normal” entrance. But it makes my top 5, even though there’s nothing unusual about it, because of the man’s legacy. Although it’s not shown in the save stats, Mariano Rivera IS the best closer of all time. Sure, Trevor Hoffman has more saves than Mo, but that will change this season. As Mariano Rivera currently has 567 career saves. (See my milestone tab on the right.) He needs just 35 more to have the career saves stat to back up the statement of best closer ever. Even though his pitching already shows it.
Heath’s entrance from the bullpen is the complete opposite of Mo’s. Mariano Rivera’s entrance is a normal jog in from the bullpen to the mound. But not Heath Bell. Oh no. Heath comes into the game by way of a full out SPRINT. A sprint in which he always slows to a walk by second base. It’s the top speed run in from the bullpen that enables Heath to make my top 5.
Aroldis, just like Mo, has a normal entrance from the bullpen. Just a steady jog from the towards the mound. And as far as a legacy, Chapman hasn’t been around long enough to have established a great one like Mo’s. The one thing that Aroldis Chapman does have that no one else in my top 5 has is a ROCKET arm. A rocket isn’t even fast enough to be used in the same sentence with his arm. It’s more like a rocket on steroids. The top speed ever recorded by a Major League pitcher is 106. A record that Aroldis Chapman holds. And it is that unhuman arm that EVERYONE wants to see in action, that enables Aroldis to make it into my top 5.
I’m not going to beat around the bush for this one. It’s obvious why Brian makes it into my top five. His beard. “Fear The Beard.” His beard has helped to earn Wilson a lot of fans. (As well as money.) I mean, who doesn’t like to see a guy with a “magical” beard enter in from the bullpen to close out a ballgame? I know I do. And it’s that intriguing beard that convinced me to add him to my top five list.
Jonathan made it into my top five entrances because of the inevitability he brings to the mound with him. I mean, when any of my other four picks enter into the ballgame, they only need a one run lead to secure a win. But not Broxton. Noooo……not Broxton. He needs at least a ten run lead to get the win for the Dodgers. And even then they might only win by one. He’s really struggling right now. He NEEDS to go to the minors to work things out. Don’t believe that he needs to be sent down? Then watch Dodgerfilms video on the subject. Go ahead……..watch it. Click anywhere in this sentence…….and BOOM…..you’re off. Just like that.
I’m am 100% positive that I’m going to post a top five players update this Saturday. I couldn’t do one last weekend because I had…….NO TIME. But I’ll definitely do one this time. I’m going to name it # 5, even though update # 4 wasn’t a real update. This Saturday’s update is going to be two weeks worth. So be sure to come back on Saturday to read it……….
I didn’t think I was going to be able to post my regular Saturday entry today. (Storms in the area caused power outages.) But here it is:
Heath earned another save last night in Houston. That brings his career total to 94 career saves. Heath is still perfect when it comes to saves versus save opportunities. (3 for 3.) Heath is doing great. (The Padres are currently 6-8.)
Derek Jeter currently has 2,938 career hits. This puts him 62 hits away from the 3,000 hit mark. Jeter has gotten 5 hits in his past four games. This is a major improvement for Jeter since the start of the season. Jeter’s average is slowly starting to creep up. With a current average of .240. (The Yankees are currently 8-5.)
TIM LINCECUMLincecum’s most recent start wasn’t as impresive as his first two. He game up 3 runs and 6 hits over 5.1 innings. This brings his ERA for the season to 1.86. He has still only given up just 1 home run so far this year. (The Giants are currently 7-6.) Check out this great play Tim made in his last start.
Albert Pujols must of read my entry I wrote about him last Saturday, because he has started to get red hot. He has hit 3 home runs in his last 2 games. His average is currently .241. But I’m sure he’ll get it above .300 soon. (The Cardinals are currently 7-7.)
What can I say about Mo? I guess I could sum his pitching this year up in one word…..AWESOME. Mo is 6 for 6 is saves versus save opportunities. He is now up to 565 career saves. Just 37 away from passing Trevor Hoffman for the record.
OTHER GENERAL BASEBALL NEWS
Josh Hamilton injured his shoulder diving in to home plate on a “stupid” decision to run. He is expected to be out for 6-8 weeks.
Yesterday (April 15th) was Jackie Robinson day. Every player on every team wore the number 42 in honor of him. (Mariano Rivera put on the same uni.)
I’m planning on attending at least one Triple-A game sometime this week. So I’ll post a recap(with pictures) on here afterwards.