Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Bronx Sports: Fizzled #Yankees Break Fans' Hearts

Bronx Sports: Fizzled #Yankees Break Fans' Hearts: Fizzled #Yankees Break Fans' Hearts Yankees were just not good enough By Rich Mancuso BRONX, NEW YORK (BRONX NEWS)-...

Fizzled #Yankees Break Fans' Hearts

Fizzled #Yankees Break Fans' Hearts
Yankees were just not good enough
By Rich Mancuso
BRONX, NEW YORK (BRONX NEWS)- It took 163 games to determine that the New York Yankees were not good enough. And by all means this Yankees team of 2015 was not expected to play a postseason game, but they had their good moments and had everyone believing in July that they were good enough to throw that underdog status about them out the window.
For the third time this season they opposed left handed pitcher Dallas Keuchel. And a better team, the Houston Astros, Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium, epitomized why the Yankees were not good enough. As longtime radio voice of the Yankees John Sterling said, “Ballgame over, Season Over” and in reality the Yankees season may have been over after losing that seven-game divisional lead to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Shutout 3-0, the 23rd time that has happened in their postseason history, Tuesday night was just a continuation of a Yankees baseball season that went the other way the past six weeks.
And three hits in six innings, that’s not good enough in a game that said move on or go home.
“Obviously we’re not good enough right now,” said Yankees GM Brian Cashman, “because we’re not playing so it’s all that matters.” Cashman spoke outside a quiet Yankees clubhouse moments after the Houston Astros advanced to the AL Divisional Series and a meeting with the Kansas City Royals.
Cashman did not see the Astros celebrating on the pitching mound at Yankee Stadium. And it will take a conscious effort and hard work, an offseason of many meetings and much more, if he wants to see the Yankees celebrating in the Bronx on the field and in the clubhouse.
It begins with pitching and the Yankees thought they had it. 
Masahiro Tanaka was victimized once again by the home run ball and he gave the Astros two opportunities to hit the ball out of the park as Colby Rasmus and Carlos Gomez went after the first pitch in the second and fourth innings.
And to continue playing deep into October, as Cashman thought his team was capable of doing, there has to be a way to overcome good pitching and getting to the left hander. The Yankees seemed to do that well until the end of July, but the rest of the way it was a mission in futility.
Put it this way, Cashman and his manager know how long a baseball season is. There are the ups and downs of a long season and there are the injuries that hinder every team. Mark Teixeira was on his way to an MVP and comeback type of season, and before a broken leg was the Yankees top home run, RBI, and run producer.
There was the unexpected loss of pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, who as they said was evolving into an ace. But, Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda were too inconsistent, and CC Sabathia returned from the disabled list and showed he was not done with two bad knees. 
And the Yankees hope to have Sabathia back in spring training, fully recovered from an unexpected bout with an addiction to alcohol. They had the bullpen, especially the backend with Justin Wilson, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller.
The 40-year-old Alex Rodriguez, who had the unexpected and comeback season, may have showed that 
age caught up to him in the final six weeks of the season. He became the catalyst of an offense that scored a lot of runs until the end of July, but an 0-for-4 night and two strikeouts did not help the Yankees move on.
Rodriguez heard the boos in the ninth inning after another strikeout, and in all fairness not appropriate for the type of comeback season he provided. But he did not come through in the clutch with two outs in the sixth inning, with two on base. 
A hit by A-Rod would have made it interesting and give the Yankees some life, but age may have caught up to the Yankees, even if they feel there was an accomplishment of once again reaching a very abbreviated postseason.  
“It’s hard to kind of reflect on the year right now,” Rodriguez said in that quiet clubhouse. “I played a lot of games and that’s probably the biggest surprise of the whole year. Just a lot of fun playing with the guys and just feel grateful for the opportunity to come back and re-establish myself as a major league baseball player.”
But it was not the A-Rod or a Yankees team that went beyond expectations this final game. The division was lost to Toronto and with the wild card in place they believed there was time to show they were going deep into October.
“The wheels were flying off as the season went on,” said Cashman. “The longer it went for some reason the worse we started to get, Obviously we lost some key guys but also some guys just did not play the way they are capable of playing.”
Those guys in particular were Jacoby Ellsbury, who was benched Tuesday night because the left hander was on the mound. The other guy, Brett Gardner went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, and the Yankees at the plate went down ten times via the strikeout.
So it became an issue with those table setters of Ellsbury, the long term multi-million disappointment and Gardner, who continued their battles of failing to get on base the last two months of a long season.
Cashman said, whether it was fatigue or a slump about Ellsbury and Gardner, “The dynamic Duo were not plating runs.” 
Overall as a unit, the entire Yankees team went into a collective slump, and at the wrong time of year reflected by going 30-34 in their last 68 games. 
And the infield that manager Joe Girardi had on the field for the last game was different. Younger, and where the Yankees need to go if they want to get back to the postseason and go far. Didi Gregorius, a pickup in the offseason got better and has become a valuable replacement for Derek Jeter.
Rob Refsnyder got better in the final weeks and earned the start at second for the wild card game, and Greg Bird was at first, one of Cashman’s untouchables that kept the GM from wheeling and dealing to make the team better,
Said Carlos Beltran, who became the lone consistent hitter down the stretch, “Everybody said we were not supposed to do anything, so I consider what we did was a success.” But it can’t be considered a successful season for the Yankees after going home with a wild card loss, and it is never successful unless they get to the World Series.
“Maybe we were out of gas,” said the injured Teixeira who was on crutches in the clubhouse. “Maybe we were too banged up. We just kind of hit a wall at the end of the year.” Teixeira will play next year in his final contract season, so Bird won’t be at first and that means the Yankees have to wait to get younger. 
So the Yankees in the end were not good enough. Cashman will go into organizational meetings with his manager and as Girardi said, “There is a lot of character in that room and it hurts. It’s not a healthy group in that room right now, they are banged up. I am extremely proud of what they have done.”
However, it was not good enough. Cashman needs to see how the Houston Astros got young, had a good solid two in the pitching rotation and used speed and the home run ball. The Yankees may have had some of that when they took control of the division but the gas went dry.
“The team we saw earlier wasn’t the team we finished with,” Cashman said.  Simply said, the 2015 Yankees were not good enough!
Comment Rich Mancuso:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso 
#Yankees #WildCard #HoustonAstros #Yankee Stadium #Bronx #New York #Bronx News

Monday, October 5, 2015

Bronx Sports: Booze vs. Baseball: #Sabathia checks into rehab

Bronx Sports: Booze vs. Baseball: #Sabathia checks into rehab: Booze vs. Baseball: #Sabathia checks into rehab It’ about #CC Sabathia now and not baseball By Rich Mancuso BRONX, NEW YORK (BRONX ...

Booze vs. Baseball: #Sabathia checks into rehab

Booze vs. Baseball: #Sabathia checks into rehab

It’ about #CC Sabathia now and not baseball

By Rich Mancuso

BRONX, NEW YORK (BRONX NEWS)- This is not about baseball when it comes to the situation regarding Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia. 

Of course it is about the person, his family, and hopes that this talented and giving athlete will recover from his battle of alcohol abuse. As Sabathia said, “I don’t want to run and hide,” and that speaks volumes.

Because we as a society tend to bypass that the world of sports called “fun and games” is supposed to be a diversion of the everyday difficulties, the latest setback to CC Sabathia does hold significance. And as much as Sabathia’s teammates look to continue their season tomorrow night in the Bronx with an elimination baseball game, what is more important is Sabathia is in rehab and will recover.

The game or the individual?  For Sabathia, obvious the game means nothing at this point and for that there can only be hope that this shocking revelation of alcohol abuse will be overcome and lead to continued success for CC Sabathia.

This is not about baseball. And it has nothing to do with rooting against the Yankees and the anti Yankees fans, as they said on social media, “Good for the Yankees. Good it was them and not us.” No, the proper attitude at this point is that CC Sabathia gets through this and overcomes the adversity.

From a baseball perspective, and for the Yankees and their loyal fans, this one stings. If the Yankees advance in their Al wild card elimination game against the Houston Astros tomorrow night in the Bronx, Sabathia was in the plan to get the start in game two of the ALDS. He has been pitching like the ace again in his past four starts with an improved and well structured knee brace.

And through all of this, as we know now, Sabathia has been battling a bigger fight with his addiction to alcohol. In that Yankees locker room playoff spot celebration this past Thursday night, Sabathia was the first to speak. He was one of the first to pour the bubbly over the heads of jubilant teammates, the first to have a sip of one or more beers that were a part of the entire post game victory party.

But that is always a part of a Major League Baseball team victory celebration, the bubbly and the beer, except this revelation by Sabathia Monday afternoon brings up a question. Coincidence, or was CC Sabathia during a time of his addiction out of line? That is a matter of Sabathia answering for himself, and for the time being he only asks that we all respect the privacy of himself, and his family as Sabathia’s biggest victory is yet to come.

Overcoming his addiction is far more important right now than throwing a shutout on the mound or helping lead his team to another championship.

“We will miss him of course but this is more important,” GM Brian Cashman said to the media Monday afternoon. There was concern etched on his face and it had nothing to do with a big game against the Astros Tuesday night.

We forget that the manager, Joe Girardi has to deal with more adversity. Never mind the significance of that game tomorrow night or that Sabathia would not be available for the postseason should the Yankees advance. Girardi has a challenge ahead, but CC Sabathia has a bigger one.

“He came to me before the game yesterday and said he needed help,” Girardi said. Those words were coming from a pitcher with a multi million dollar contract who was crying for help, and not about an important game. Girardi knew it was more important than Sabathia once again trying to become the ace if this postseason has a long life.

But it is the life after baseball for CC Sabathia, and not the goal of winning another championship now for the New York Yankees. As difficult as that may sound, it is that old and same story about these mega million ballplayers fighting the same demons that are an unfortunate part of society.

“Give him credit,” Girardi said. “I give him like I said a lot of courage to step up when he did. He knew his family and his children were first. When he came in yesterday I was no longer a manager. I wanted to make sure the first core of action was taken.”

That was yesterday as the Yankees finished their season on a losing note. This was the last thing Girardi or his team wanted to hear, but those who have been through the adversity of a friend, family member or colleague dealing with this addiction can understand the emotions that are going on with Girardi and the Yankees.

They are a family, as every baseball team seems to know through February until the games are over.

“I love baseball and I love my teammates,” Sabathia said in a statement. “And I am also fully aware that I am leaving at a time when we should all be coming together for one last push toward the World Series.”   Now that push will be for the full recovery of CC Sabathia.

Girardi said, “We have a wonderful clubhouse. Everyone loves CC like a brother. We call ourselves a family. Players have other distractions… I tell players to deal with them and CC did.” And he said, CC has always been a competitor as we are all aware. 

Yes this is another distraction for the Yankees, in a season of many. More so a baseball game tomorrow night does not seem as important and the consensus is those teammates of Sabathia have a similar feeling.

Comment Rich Mancuso:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

#CCSabathia #Rehab #Yankees #Bronx #New York #Bronx News

Bronx Sports: Tanaka to Start Wild Card Game at #Yankee Stadium

Bronx Sports: Tanaka to Start Wild Card Game at #Yankee Stadium: Tanaka to Start Wild Card G ame at #Yankee Stadium By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK (BRONX NEWS)- Despite an underwhelming final we...

Tanaka to Start Wild Card Game at #Yankee Stadium

Tanaka to Start Wild Card Game at #Yankee Stadium

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK (BRONX NEWS)- Despite an underwhelming final week of the regular season, the New York Yankees are one of the 10 clubs that have the opportunity of being World Series titlists. 

Yankee fans have at least one more opportunity of witnessing a meaningful ballgame at Yankee Stadium. The American League Wild Card contest will be played at Tuesday night at 8 pm as the Yanks host the Houston Astros. The winner of that contest will travel to Kansas City to face the Royals in the 3 of 5 American League Division Series, which will begin on Thursday. 

Masahiro Tanaka will start for the Yanks against Dallas Keuchel for the Astros. Tanaka faced the Astros once this year, yielding six runs and seven hits in five frames, but not being involved in the decision. In a press conference on Monday, Tanaka through his translator remarked, “I remember it not being a good outing, but this time will be different.” 

Tanaka’s honest responses continued when he was asked his opinion of the Astros, “They’re young and exciting players, and put a lot of good swings on the bat. I need to be cautious.” 

Yankee manager Joe Girardi, in a press conference dominated by questions about CC Sabathia, was asked why he chose Tanaka to start the crucial contest, “I think he has the ability to mix pitches.” He also spoke of Tanaka’s competitive spirit. 
Tuesday’s Wild Card contest will not be Tanaka’s first important postseason game. In 2009, at the age of 21, he pitched in the First Stage of the Climax Series. Four years after, he pitched in three games of the best of seven Japan Series won by his club, Rakuten, over the Yomiyuri Giants. He also pitched for his native country, Japan, in the World baseball classic in 2009 and 2013.

At his press conference, he was asked if he saw any difference between his past big game experience and that of the wild Card game on the following day, “As far as the intensity, it should be the same. Since MLB is bigger than NPB [professional baseball in Japan], the lights may be brighter.

Keuchel was praised highly by Girardi on Monday, “He’s really good at what he does. He or David Price will be the Cy Young winner. He’s that good.” In his last start against the Yankees on August 25, The 20 game winner blanked them for seven innings while only surrendering three hits. 

CC Sabathia-The 35 year old hurler announced early on Monday that he will be checking into an alcohol rehabilitation clinic to get the help he needs. Although this matter is personal and should be private, the both General Manager Brian Cashman and Girardi were peppered with questions about Sabathia

Anyone who knows Sabathia or even has gotten to meet him briefly should be impressed by how he treats others and conducts himself. He has a foundation, PitCCh In, which works to better the lives of urban young people. He has made many appearances in the Bronx and in his native California to do works beneficial to children. He is a human being like all others. Best wishes to him in his very important personal endeavor.

Bronx Sports: CC Checks into Rehab

Bronx Sports: CC Checks into Rehab: CC Checks into Rehab STATEMENT FROM CC #SABATHIA: “Today I am checking myself into an alcohol rehabilitation center to receive ...