Off Again Offense

Tampa, FL, March 7 — Chien-Ming Wang followed C.C. Sabathia’s strong Friday start with three solid innings Saturday afternoon as the Yanks work to get their starting five in order. Wang allowed a singleton home run among three hits, but he struck out two and looked like his old self while coaxing five ground ball outs in a 3-1 loss in a packed George M. Steinbrenner Field Continue reading

A Successful C.C. Debut

Tampa, FL, March 6 — Friday was the 110th anniversary of the day aspirin was patented, something C.C. Sabathia might have been interested in hearing once he witnessed the first inning his fielders handed him in his Yankee debut game vs. Detroit in George M. Steinbrenner Field. Ryan Raburn was overmatched on a four-pitch strike out and Placido Polano followed by lofting an opposite-field rainbow down the line in right. Continue reading

Barely a Peep

Tampa, FL, March 5 — Although they knew that Thursday’s game was off to a very bad start, Yankee fans didn’t realize that it was over after the ugly 24-minute top of the first. Making his first official 2009 start as the Yankees begin establishing their rotation this day, Joba Chamberlain could not harness any command of his powerful fastball, and missed the zone with 14 of his first 20 pitches. Continue reading

7 Great Innings, But a 7-7 Tie

Tampa, FL, March 2 — It was incumbent first baseman Jason Giambi’s turn to pole a three-run first-inning home run to give the Yanks an early lead on the Phillies on Sunday, this time in Legends, soon to be Steinbrenner, Field. The lefty power hitter did nothing to hurt his case playing first base in the field either, and he collected both the homer and an even more impressive line double to the gap in left against lefty pitching. Continue reading

All But One Pass a College Test

Tampa, FL, February 29 — A few years back, the Houston Astros broke a long streak and lots of Yankee fan hearts when they strung together a no-hitter against the Bombers, the first no-hitter in major league history shared by six pitchers. Friday, six of the Yanks’ most promising new arms allowed one single among them, pitching to just 25 batters in eight innings of an 11-4 victory. Continue reading

Old Friends

Tampa, FL, March 7 — I can’t tell you at what point this season watching and rooting for Andy Pettitte in a game will lose the sense of nostalgia and thrill at having him back. At some point, I’m sure, it will morph into the more workmanlike (though thrilling) work of pulling for the team and the guy representing them on the mound, just because that is what I do. It hasn’t happened yet for sure, and let’s just say that it took a moment to recover from the sight of Chris Denorfia’s bat head hurtling toward number 46 in the first inning of tonight’s Reds/Yankee game in Legends Field. Continue reading

Then Came Bronson

Tampa, FL, March 5 — The first surprise I was confronted with as I entered Legends Field under a dazzling cloudless sky Monday was the number of front-line Tigers who had made the trip to Tampa from Lakeland. Jim Leyland pencilled the names Ivan Rodriguez, Placido Polanco, Gary Sheffield, Carlos Guillen, Brandon Inge, Sean Casey, and Curtis Granderson into his starting lineup, handed the ball to Justin Verlander to pitch the first, and used both Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney to pitch late innings to protect a slim lead. Continue reading

The Kids Are Alright

Tampa, FL., March 3 — Pitching dominated over hitting yet again on Saturday in Tampa, as the Yanks needed a late three-run rally to overcome the visiting Pirates, 4-3. But while the arms dominating was business as usual, the milieu in which the game was played was anything but. Light rain fell in the morning and then again late in the game, and temps ranged in the 50s for much of the afternoon. Continue reading