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Yankees Road Through September (and maybe the playoffs)?

Robinson Cano and the Yankees have a tough task in September--get into the wild card race anyway they can

Robinson Cano and the Yankees have a tough task in September–get into the wild card race anyway they can

The Yankees have 29 games left this season, and they gained a half game yesterday without playing a game (thanks Angels and Tigers). As the Baltimore Orioles come into town this weekend, the schedule for the Yankees in September will tell them just how much of a playoff contending team they are. Here’s a preview of the September calendar, and where the Yankees could stand at the end of the month.

August 30 – September 1

Baltimore Orioles vs. New York Yankees

The Baltimore Orioles pitching is a bit sketchy, but they can survive sketchy pitching with their lineup. With the power bat of Chris Davis and the ability for the rest of team to scratch out runs, the Yankees are in for the fight of their life this weekend. This series won’t be easy but the Yankees have added Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Robinson Cano should he be well enough to play at some point this weekend. The Yankees need to at least take two out of three in this series, which means that CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova need to step up and pitch well (Nova has done that this season, the sentence was more for Hughes and Sabathia). Also a word of advice, if the Yankees want a chance to take the series, I’d suggest taking Hughes out of the rotation and put David Huff to start instead. Just because David Huff combined with his last two outings had pitched a full game giving up no runs and one hit. I’d sign up for that instead of home runs and runs from Hughes.

September 2 – September 4

Chicago White Sox vs. New York Yankees

The last time these two teams faced one another, the White Sox swept the Yankees in three games. This time it should be a bit different since we didn’t have any power bats in our lineup at the time (minus Robinson Cano). This White Sox team is a bit different since they gave up a lot of their key players during the season to contending teams, so it should be an easier battle this time around. If all goes according to plan, the best case scenario would be to take two out of three. I’d be greedy saying I want the sweep, but hey…don’t we all?

September 5 – September 8

Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees

The Red Sox and Yankees were the highlight of ESPN baseball two weeks ago when the Red Sox woke up the Yankees after an intentionally pitch to Alex Rodriguez hit him in his ribs. This time it’s a four game set at Yankee Stadium and the Red Sox will have to face off against the Yankees once again. The Yankees took two out of three last time due to great pitching and timely hitting. The Yankees need to have the same formula coming into the series. The keys to this series: keep Jacoby Ellsbury off base since he’s the Red Sox version of Brett Gardner and find a way to get David Ortiz out anyway they can. (As of the morning of August 30, Ortiz has been in a slump going 0 for his last 23). This series is crucial. The Yankees need to at least take two out of the four games.

September 9 – September 12

New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles

The Yankees go from one four game series to another four game series, this time traveling to Camden Yards for this four game set vs. the Orioles. Keys to the rest of the Orioles series is simple: Don’t give them anything to hit, especially Chris Davis. One mistake and it could go out to Eutaw street faster than you can say “Mariano Rivera“. Which means I strongly advise Joe Girardi to again not play Phil Hughes. Don’t know how many times I’m going to have to say this.

September 13 – September 15

New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox

After the Orioles series, the Yankees go to Boston and play another series at Fenway. Yep, same old same old Yankees vs. Red Sox. But this has more on the line for the Yankees than it does for the Red Sox. Let’s just say find a way to stop the Red Sox bats, score some runs, take two out of three and get the heck out of there? Sound good? Good.

September 17 – September 19

New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays

The Yankees go to Canada to play the Toronto Blue Jays in their final showdown this season. The Yankees have owned the Blue Jays this season, minus the most recent series where the Blue Jays took two out of three from the Yankees. Well, the Yankees will be looking for a vengeance. Key to this series: Keep the power hitters at bay, don’t walk Jose Reyes and Rajai Davis–and try to get to the Blue Jays pitching. The Yankees have the discipline to do so and have proved it in the past.

September 20 – September 22

San Francisco Giants vs. New York Yankees

All right, who made this schedule? An interleague game at the end of the year? Anyway, back to the topic at hand: The Giants this year–aren’t very good (and that’s an understatement). The Yankees could have themselves a two out of three series (or maybe a sweep) if the Yankees run into bad pitching, which the Giants have had this season. Well, we don’t know when the Giants will come back to Yankee Stadium so we might as well enjoy this series (that and we could see how starstruck the players get when they run into Mariano Rivera).

September 24 – September 26

Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees

The final series at Yankee Stadium for the 2013 season is against the Tampa Bay Rays who have the pitching to get them where they need to be if they make the first wild card spot. The keys to this series is simple: Don’t give any of the power hitters (and there are some power hitters) anything good to hit. That includes Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist, Matt Joyce…you get the picture. It’s also important to stay patient with the pitchers.  You never know when you can get into their bullpen which has had an up and down year.

September 27 – September 29

New York Yankees vs. Houston Astros

The final series of the season takes the Yankees to Texas, but not to face the Rangers. Instead, they will face the Houston Astros. Honestly, if the Yankees can’t sweep the Astros, then we don’t deserve to be contending. The Houston Astros are a minor league team in the Major Leagues, and that’s me putting it as nicely as I can. Depending where the Yankees are in the wild card standings at this point in the season, this series is important. This series could make or break the chances of getting into the playoffs if the race is that close in the end.

MLB Suspends Rodriguez, Cervelli for Biogenesis link

Alex Rodriguez has been suspended by MLB for the rest of the 2013 season and all of 2014.

Alex Rodriguez has been suspended by MLB for the rest of the 2013 season and all of 2014.

Well, the moment that we all were waiting for since early last week has finally arrived: Major League Baseball has suspended Alex Rodriguez for the rest of the 2013 season and all of 2014. However there is a catch: Rodriguez has appealed the suspension and can play until otherwise.

MLB suspended 13 players today just after noon but the announcement wasn’t made official until 3 p.m. Here is the press release, clarifying Rodriguez’s charges:

Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig announced today that third baseman Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees has been suspended without pay for the remainder of the 2013 Championship Season and Postseason and the entire 2014 Championship Season for violations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program and the Basic Agreement.

Rodriguez’s discipline under the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program is based on his use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including Testosterone and human Growth Hormone, over the course of multiple years.

Rodriguez’s discipline under the Basic Agreement is for attempting to cover-up his violations of the Program by engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the Office of the Commissioner’s investigation. The suspension, which will become effective on Thursday, August 8th, will cover 211 Championship Season games and any 2013 Postseason games in which Rodriguez otherwise would have been eligible to play.

Under the terms of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, Rodriguez’s suspension will be stayed until the completion of his appeal if Rodriguez files a grievance challenging his discipline.

However, Rodriguez wasn’t the only New York Yankee that was suspended this afternoon. Catcher Francisco Cervelli was suspended for 50-games due to his link of the Biogenesis clinic. Unlike Rodriguez, Cervelli has accepted the suspension and will not play for the rest of the 2013 season.

With Rodriguez’s suspension taking effect until Thursday, he’s able to play the Chicago series from Monday through Wednesday at Cellular Field against the White Sox. Joe GIrardi made a note that he had ‘penciled in’ Rodriguez for the lineup yesterday before a 6-3 loss to the San Diego Padres.

Well, it looks as if it’s a brand new season of “As The World Turns On A-Rod.” So grab your popcorn, sit in front of the T.V. tonight…and let the A-Rod circus continue. Oh joy.

MLB, Yankees no longer negotiating deal with A-Rod after comments

250px-Alex_Rodriguez_2008-04-19It looks as if this time, Alex Rodriguez‘s mouth has gotten him into some serious trouble with the people that he’s supposed to negotiate a deal with: Major League Baseball.

After Alex Rodriguez’s comments following last night’s Trenton Thunder game, Major League Baseball and the New York Yankees are no longer willing to negotiate a deal with him regarding his suspension. Now it looks as if A-Rod could be facing either a 214 game ban (which is the rest of this year and next year) or a lifetime ban should MLB choose that route.

Let’s backtrack a moment into the latest chapter of the Alex Rodriguez saga. Following last night’s game, Rodriguez met with reporters and media members, and a couple of his comments had people wondering whether he was crazy, or if he was pretending to care about the other players involved by using himself as an example.

“I think it is pretty self-explanatory. I think that is the pink elephant in the room,” he said. “I think we all want to get rid of PEDs. That’s a must. All the players, we feel that way. But when all this stuff is going on in the background and people are finding creative ways to cancel your contract and stuff like that, I think that is concerning to me. It’s concerning to present players and I think it should be concerning to future players, as well.”

Look at that. A-Rod really does care about the other players. There’s just one thing–there are no other players in Major League Baseball that have to worry about their contracts getting ripped to shreds. It seems that Rodriguez thinks that there is a conspiracy theory at works, and his comments made rounds to manager Joe Girardi following last night’s 7-2 loss to the Padres in San Diego.

When asked about Rodriguez’s comments, here is what Girardi had to say:

“I was not there, and if I had a chance to sit down and talk with him, I might talk about that, but I’m not there.”

Following Rodriguez’s comments, Major League Baseball made it public that they are no longer negotiating with Rodriguez on his suspension and it looks as if this case could ultimately make it to the Federal Courts, should A-Rod and his camp decide to. The New York Yankees also aren’t talking negotiations with Rodriguez because they have no part in the negotiation or suspension process. If/When Rodriguez is suspended, he also can’t go to Japan to play baseball since Japan honors Major League Baseball’s suspensions. So it looks like another ugly season of “As The World Turns on A-Rod” is awaiting us. Well…it’s better than what’s on cable now.

Bartolo Colon suspended for testosterone use

Bartolo Colon suspended for testosterone use

By Delia E.

The Office of Commissioner of Baseball released details that Oakland Atheltics pitcher Bartolo Colon received a 50 game suspension without pay after he tested positive for Testosterone, with him becoming the second former Yankee in a week to get suspended. Colon’s suspension is effective immediately.

Here is the statement that Colon released following his suspension: “I apologize to the fans, to my teammates and to the Oakland A’s. I accept responsibility for my actions and I will serve my suspension as required by the Joint Drug Program.”

Travel Day

Clemens, the AL’s big weekend, Perfect games, no hitters, and one hitters galore, and much more from a big week in baseball.

Not Guilty?

On Monday afternoon the sad and embarrassing saga of Roger Clemens‘ perjury trial was put to an end.  The “not guilty” verdict that was handed on down on all six counts brought against Clemens by the Federal Government.  This verdict effectively ends Clemens’ legal battles regarding whether he did or did not use PED’s but the in the court of public opinion he will be tried for decades. To judge whether or not the Federal Government “wasted” millions in taxpayer money isn’t really appropriate. Federal Prosecutors have a job to do, and in an ideal world must bring charges against those who they feel have violated Federal Statutes. In what is now and forever will be known as the “steroid era”, it has become obvious to just about everyone that the use of PED’s was rampant and that some of the baseball’s all-time greats used these PED’s.  Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, Palmeiro, Clemens, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz and Andy Pettite have all been linked to PED use.  Whether or not these players are voted into the Hall Of Fame is a question that only time can answer.  My feeling about whether or not these players will be voted into the Hall Of Fame is that eventually they all who deserve to be in the Hall Of Fame based on their numbers will be voted in.  They’ll all  be “punished” by the writers by not being voted into the Hall Of Fame in their first year of eligibility and possibly for as long as a decade.  At some point though, I believe that the perspective that time will provide will soften the view on these players and their actions enough to allow their entry into Cooperstown.  They’ll get their yearly visits to the gathering on the famed veranda at the Otesaga Hotel in Cooperstown, where Chef Gregory will prepare them an incredible meal while they sip beverages looking out over Otsego Lake.

Nothing about this era, its criminal trials, apologies, or aftermath has been positive for the sport. Its causes can’t be traced to one specific event or person. Every player who used PED’s had his own reasons and rationalizations for doing so and to those who think that all or most of the violators have been named? I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I can sell you very cheap. It is normal and expected for people to want to blame someone or something for this era. Selig and the owners? Yes, it is very safe to assume that some of them had an idea about what was going on. The players themselves? Of course,  They knew what they were doing to their bodies.

While many have stated that players were forced to do this to compete and keep up with those looking to take their jobs, it isn’t a good enough reason.  Lets just make sure that we all take a look at ourselves before we assign that blame. While there were a scant few who hinted that perhaps all was not kosher with the increase in home runs, batting averages, and speed of fastballs in MLB during this era, most of us wanted to believe that this was legitimate.  Most fans and writers looked the other way and suppressed that little voice in their head that was saying “this isn’t possible”. Did I know that it wasn’t logical that all of a sudden guys named McGwire, Sosa, and Bonds were suddenly supposed to possess so much power? Yes, I did. Did I know that most pitchers weren’t all of a sudden supposed to be humming fastballs in the mid to high 90’s? Yes, I did.  Did I push these thoughts back deep into my mind? Yes, I did, and I don’t think I’m different from anyone else. Most of us loved the exciting power, action, and performances that this era provided us as fans and we didn’t protest or call these performances into question. It is my fervent belief that most people who express anger and outrage over what these players did are really just as angry at themselves for being taken in by this era.

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