A-Rod returns, but CC steals the show

WDLR dominates in AA debut
Musings on A-Rod's 'historic milestones' contract

It was like a second Opening Day. A month after the Yankees kicked off their season against the Orioles, they were back in Baltimore with the same two pitchers on the mound, but with one major difference: the Yanks had their third baseman back, and it wouldn’t be long before he made an impact. After back-to-back walks to Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeira in the first, Alex Rodriguez turned on the first pitch he saw this season and drove it into the left field seats for a no-doubt homer. A-Rod put his stamp on the game right away, and reminded everyone what the team was missing.

Alex’s moment in the spotlight would be short lived though, because CC Sabathia took the game over once he got on the mound. Brian Roberts and Adam Jones led the game off with a pair of singles, but after that CC went to work. He retired twenty-three of the next twenty-four hitters he faced, striking out the last three batters of the night with authority. He cruised to a much needed win that gave the bullpen a night off, and the fanbase a reason to step back from the ledge. With the Yanks having lost their last four games, Sabathia’s effort was just what the doctor ordered. Ken Singleton said it best, it wasn’t just a performance to stop a losing streak, it was a performance to start a winning streak. It was the Yanks’ first complete game shutout win since this Chien-Ming Wang gem back in 2006.

Francisco Cervelli also made his presence known in his second career big league start behind the plate. He made a great throw to gun down Adam Jones at second in the first, laid down the best sac bunt of the Yanks’ season in the second, and picked up his first career hit in the fourth. He also handled Sabathia as if the two had been battery mates for years. The Yanks are just looking to keep their heads above water behind the dish while Jorge Posada and Jose Molina are on the DL, and they had to be encouraged by what they say out of Frankie tonight.

The Yanks send Phil Hughes to the mound tomorrow night, and they have a chance to continue their winning ways against Adam Eaton, who somehow is still in the league.

WDLR dominates in AA debut
Musings on A-Rod's 'historic milestones' contract
  • Pastafarian

    Great win…. this was better than the walk-off hit for Jorge against the Angels.

  • Bob Stone

    Fantastic Game!!! – I was traveling to Maine for a day for business without any internet access and learned that I really missed the site and all the commenters. So it’s great to be back and to get my FIX! Love this site! Almost as much as I love the Yanks.

  • Some call me…tim

    Yanks 3B before first homer:
    Others 401
    Arod 0

    GG CC!

    Thoughts on him saying it was last two months of last season too?

    IPK anyeurism :(

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Aunt Becca-Optimist Prime

    This was Cervelli’s second start?

    When was his first?

    • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

      One of the games in September of last year, I assume.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Yeah, he started a game last September. I originally wrote the post up saying it was his first career start. Good thing I checked it out.

  • Rich

    Cervelli is probably better than Molina right now.

    • V

      Doubtful, no matter how often you repeat it.

      • Rich

        It’s not a really high bard to overcome.

        I post at a few blogs. It’s hard to remember what I post where. Sorry for any repetitiveness.

        • Rich

          *bar*

    • Ed

      Considering Molina can’t run right now, I’d have to agree with you.

      Two days ago, that would be a totally different story.

      • Rich

        Molina couldn’t run anyway.

        I think Cervelli can be as good defensively, and at least he is likely to get BB, unlike Molina, who has no plate discipline (ISO D .040).

        The Yankees have enough players in their mid-30s. It’s time to get younger an more athletic.

        • V

          Can be is.

          Molina will finish the year a Yankee. Cervelli may be ready to be a backup by next year.

          • V

            Blegh, the not equals sign didn’t work, lol. Can be does not equal is.

            • Rich

              If Molina was merely going to catch once or maybe twice a week, then he would probably be the better option, but I think he gets exposed playing everyday.

              • steve (different one)

                and you don’t think Cervelli is going to get “exposed”?

                i’m excited for the guy too, but more for next year.

                that’s $2M the yankees won’t have to pay for a backup.

  • A.D.

    Don’t expect too many multiple on-base games for Cervelli, but if he can call a good game and keep runners at bay, sign me up.

    • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      I thought Cervelli looked very good behind the plate tonight. He looks like a very smooth receiver with a strong arm, and he and CC obviously looked like they were working very well together. Of course, that last part will happen when your ace throws a complete game shutout, but still. One nitpick – he looks like he takes a bit too much time loading-up to make his throws.

      Mike – What was his defensive rep while he was in the minors?

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        Excellent defense, mediocre at best offense.

      • Mr. Max

        I thought the complete opposite: he gets rid of the ball SO fast.

        He’s considered the Yanks best defensive catcher, according to BA, I think.

        • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Meh, I’m no expert, perhaps you’re right. I just thought he looked like he had a real strong arm that made up a bit for slow mechanics (maybe not slow, per se, but too pronounced, if that makes sense). The ball certainly gets there quick once he gets rid of it, but I thought he could have gotten rid of it quicker if his motions were more compact. Whatevs, I’m probably wrong, I’ll keep on watching him. He is fun to watch back there. Very smooth.

          • AlexNYC

            Cervelli definitely looked awesome in the WBC. I was impressed with the way he handled the Italian pitching staff.

    • Rich

      Apart from his defense, what I like about him is that his career mL ISO D is .100. Plate discipline is a good foundation for being able to improve as a hitter. Not to necessarily to be great, but being decent, which is fine for a catcher.

      • Ed

        Plate discipline means nothing if you don’t have a decent bat to back it up. You’re not going to see many balls if the pitchers don’t think you can hurt them. See Gardner.

        • Rich

          Gardner has regressed. In ST and at the end of last season, he was using his legs when he swung the bat. Now he is back to only using his arms and upper cutting. So even when he makes contact, the ball isn’t going anywhere. To compensate, he has become more aggressive, so any plate discipline he had has almost vanished.

    • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Is he calling the game? I’d think he’d be taking his cues from the dugout at this point in his career. That’s why I was paying attention to his mechanics (receiving/throwing) and not the pitch selection, really. Am I wrong?

      • cult of basebaal

        Whether it’s Cash or Frankie Cervix behind the dish, I’m sure the pitches are being called from the dugout …

        • AlexNYC

          You think?

          • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            No reason for the snark, it was a response to a commenter above who mentioned Cervelli’s game-calling.

  • yankees=warriors

    This is a day late and not related to this thread. But seeing no one has break the news (not even Pete), and it’s relevance, I’ll relay it here:

    According to the Taiwanese media, Wang could be back as early as 5 days later! In his last EST start, his location was good, his ball to strike ratio was a perfect 1:2, and last but not least, his sinker is regaining that signature “drop”.
    The Yankees have announced that he will start again on the 13th, then rejoin the team right away, hence the “back as early as 5 days” speculation.

    This is from the website that broadcast the Yankee games in Taiwan and is quite credible. But since no American press is saying this, let’s just take it as it is.
    (If you want to read the original Chinese text, here’s the link:
    http://mlb.ftv.com.tw/content/news.aspx )

    • yankees=warriors

      They constantly post new stories, so if you want to read the one about Wang, you have to scroll down and look through the older stuff.

    • yankees=warriors

      Sorry, I missread!
      They meant 5 days AFTER that next start, so it’s 5/17, earliest.

      And now that I’ve looked through the web, a lot of other credible news sources are saying it as well.

  • dkidd

    has there ever been a more important 1st inning home run? even jeter’s poorly disguised loathing couldn’t spoil the moment

    really hope hughes bounces back

    amazing what 24 hours can do!

    • V

      What about ‘Jeter’s poorly disguised loathing’? Huh?

      • dkidd

        i didn’t think he looked very happy greeting alex after the homer

        • Rich

          Come on, the guy hates to lose.

          • andrew

            And in the pregame, they showed ARod and Jeter chatting it up and laughing in the dugout. ARod may not be liked as a person, but i think all the Yankees know what he means to the team.

            • steve (different one)

              no, they weren’t chatting and laughing, according to Abraham it was tense and wierd!!!

      • NHYankee62

        What a completely baseless and idiotic thing to say.

        • V

          Uh, I was quoting the other guy. I have no idea where it came from.

          • NHYankee62

            Yeah I hit the wrong button.

            Obviously dkidd is a useless troll.

            So you’re the same guy who got fed up with Pete Abe’s constant Arod bashing; I thing you said something like you’d be heading over to RiverAveBlues permanently right?

            • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              “Obviously dkidd is a useless troll.”

              No need for personal attacks.

              http://riveraveblues.com/2009/05/rab-community-standards-11393/

              • dkidd

                i promise i’m not a troll. i love this site

                it’s not fair or rational, but i get frustrated with jeter for not being as vocal a supporter of arod as he was for giambi and some others. to me, his silence speaks volumes, but i didn’t mean to imply that jeter would ever root against a teammate

  • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    Holy shitballs. I’m sure this came up in the game thread but… AJ Hinch is the new manager in Arizona? I feel old.

    • dkidd

      when i was a kid, the base coaches were all guys i’d never heard of: “who the hell is wayne terwilliger?”). now every game it’s “frank white. i remember when he was a rookie” “

      • Ed

        Bob Geren getting named manager is the one that got me. At the first game I ever went to, he hit a game winning home run.

        The cool part about it is he was a bad enough player that it only takes about 2 minutes on baseball-reference to figure out which game it was. So when someone asks me when I first went to a game, I can get an answer pretty quick.

        • steve (different one)

          hell, what about Girardi?

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Hensley Meulens serving as the batting coach of the Netherlands WBC team still blows my mind.

  • E-ROC

    Adam Eaton taking the hill will be a sight to see tomorrow.

  • http://forums.projectcovo.com/images/smilies/e6omir.gif OmgZombies

    What a fantastic win.It went from a nightmare yesterday to a complete dream today. Just goes to show you how good CC can be.

  • Matt-Pitt

    But… But… This team is so much better without A-Rod. Teh chemisis chemistrical chemistry will be ruined!1!

    Since I’m fairly new here I don’t wanna use that type of saying too much but I felt like it was needed. I can’t believe people actually believed we were a better team without this man. It is too early to praise him completely but damn, does he make the lineup look completely different or what? Its really nice to have that type of balance and it is amazing what he does for a lineup.

    On a different note, I would like to point to Melky “The Melk Man” Cabrera. I don’t know how long his plate discipline is going to last but I’ll take it for now. He just seems to be a different hitter at the plate. He takes pitches and actually waits for something in the zone to drive. I’m a fan and I hope the kid keeps it up.

    • Matt-Pitt

      and when I said *we*, meant to say *they*

    • Clayton

      Don’t worry, most of the people around here realize he is the second best player in baseball.

      • Clayton

        FYI I might be drunk, but Eddie Murphy Raw is still hilarious tonight. Thank you Comedy Central.

      • Accent Shallow

        This post is ambiguous enough that I first thought you were talking about Melky.

        • V

          Well, he is the second best M. Cabrera

      • NHYankee62

        It’s close, but I’d still take Arod over Pujols.

        • andrew

          I don’t know about that… not only is Pujols way younger, but he’s just an absolute monster. Not that ARod isn’t, but I think Pujols may have surpassed him.

          • NHYankee62

            What about the value of playing a tougher defensive position?

            Also, it remains to be seen this year in terms of how his hip is for running the bases, but Arod was always a very good base stealer.

            • Tony

              No, he is not better than Pujols. No need to go nuts.

              Pujols is a very good (the best) fielder at 1st, and ARod is bad at third.

              • Rick in Boston

                I’ll agree that Pujols is a very good defender at 1B, but I’d love to see any metric that calls A-Rod “bad” at third. He’s solidly average if not a tick above that at the hot corner.

              • steve (different one)

                keep in mind that this is the same guy who freaks out when Jeter’s defense is criticized.

                hilarious.

              • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

                A-Rod’s UZR/150 totals at third
                2004: 11.6
                2005: 0.2
                2006: -12.4
                2007: 2.3
                2008: -3.2

                So he’s had one fantastic season, one awful season, and two just above average seasons, and one just below average season. I’d say A-Rod’s an average fielder at third, not “bad.”

            • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

              What about the value of playing a tougher defensive position?

              I’d normally agree with you but…Pujols is just other-worldly in terms of offense and defense and more than outhits and out fields his position’s lack of defensive value. He’s the best player in baseball. Period.

              • Sweet Dick Willie

                He’s the best player in baseball. Period.

                Agreed. It’s a close call between Alex and Manny for 2nd, but Albert is clearly #1.

                A little while ago, another commenter (I think it was Steve (different one), but I could be wrong) said that the only debate was who was #1 in the NPD (non-Pujols division).

                • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

                  Love the NPD tag, haha.

                • MattG

                  I love Rodriguez–he is my favorite Yankee, and thus my favorite player–but I am not sure he is the best third baseman in the AL East.

  • V

    I’m really enjoying the new and improved Melky.

    The Yankees were really close to trading Melky for Cameron in the offseason, and decided not to, due to improvements they saw from him in winter ball.

    I hope they were right.

  • Accent Shallow

    I’ve been waiting for CC to throw a game like this. He came close against the Tigers and Angels, so it’s nice to see him break through.

    Hopefully Hughes can hold the O’s in check tomorrow, he had a good start against them last year through 5 before he lost it in the 6th.

  • NHYankee62

    Somewhere, Selena Roberts is crying herself to sleep tonight :)

  • Mike

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090509&content_id=4636418&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

    i’d give my left and right nuts and all future kids to be able to get him. he is incredible.

    • Accent Shallow

      TINSTAPP, man. (Kidding)

      Yeah, he’s great. But there’s no chance he drops. And even if he were to, the Sox pick before the Yankees in the first round.

    • Mark B

      If MLB allowed draft pick trades like every other sport, we could still acquire Strausburg – no matter what position we were slotted.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      This just in:

      San Diego State Aztecs, you look like circus clowns in those ridiculous “uniforms”.

      You have shamed baseball.

  • Carl

    Probably on that hCG.

  • LiveFromNewYork

    Haven’t been on the site in a week or so. RAB is easily the most optimistic blog out there but the negativity (from the trolls mostly) is hard to take sometimes. Misery doesn’t love company, it demands it. Plus I was in Cali for work and those were long days in the wrong time zone.

    Last night I checked RAB after I got off the plane to see how things were going with Alex back in the lineup. I’m neither an Arod fan nor a detractor. I don’t agree with everything he does and he can be a distraction but he can play baseball and if he’s doing it in pinstripes, that’s good enough for me to support him. I don’t think bagging on Arod gets Yankee fans anywhere.

    So there I was thinking I’d check on a game in progress and it was OVER! Nice efficient job by CC and welcome back Arod.

    Enjoyed all the comments on the game threads last night. A standout (we should give commie awards on here) was “Arod is showing Baltimore his O face.” I was in a taxi line at LaGuardia and laughed out loud. Lady next to me moved away.

    So thanks for that.

    Let’s go Yankees!

  • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

    One quibble, Mike

    “With the Yanks having lost their last four games, Sabathia’s effort was just what the doctor ordered”

    Last 5 games, they lost the final game against LAA.

  • Arod, all the time

    First pitch home run?

    I’m not buying it. Aroid obviously received a sign from the Oriole infield.

  • rsam

    the greatest thing that happened to arod is manny .selena roberts is not a happy lady today.