Kuroda and Romine earn Yanks a split

When the Yankees need a win, they turn to Hiroki Kuroda. He shutdown the Rangers for his 10th win earning the Yanks a split of the four-game series in Arlington. Kuroda worked seven scoreless before turning it over to David Robertson and Mariano Rivera, who picked up his 40th career save against Texas in the Yanks’ 2-0 shutout.

”I don’t I had any particular pitch that was working well, and from the get-go I didn’t have a good outing,” Kuroda told an interpreter. ”But I think I was able to get big outs and have a decent outing.”

It’s been a tough rookie year for Austin Romine. However, the 24-year old backstop had a strong day recording his first three-hit game in the majors including a pair of doubles and a run scored. He also threw out Ian Kinsler trying to steal second. Romine has received unfair criticism in limited action due to hitting below the Mendoza line. It would be nice if fans were more patient. He’s only here due to starter Francisco Cervelli’s injury and is getting valuable experience behind the plate.  He came around to score the first run in the sixth on a Brent Lillibridge RBI double.

”He’s Mo. Every time I go out there and he comes in, I’m excited more so than any point in the game,” Romine praised of the legendary closer who was presented with cowboy boots and a Texas hat before the game by 1996 closer John Wetteland and Rangers’ closer Joe Nathan, who idolizes him. ”To catch a guy that’s done it day in and day out for a long time. …. Everybody looks, everybody watches and they see how it’s done.”

”Mo looks good in a hat like that,” manager Joe Girardi said. ”It was nice who they had. … It’s a pretty special group of people that put out there with him.”

Rivera continues to amaze in his final season picking up his 33rd save in 2013 and all-time best 641st. He’s only blown two saves all year and has a 1.69 ERA. The 1-2 punch of Robertson (1-2-3 eighth) and Mo are Yankee trademarks since ’96. It once was Rivera to Wetteland before becoming Jeff Nelson and Graeme Lloyd to Mo and so on. Even amidst all the controversy surrounding Alex Rodriguez and general manager Brian Cashman off the field, every appearance Rivera makes should be cherished. He’s a throwback.

The win improved the Yanks to 54-48 pulling them within two and a half of Baltimore for the second wildcard. The Orioles lost to the Royals 7-1. The focus should be on the field. Especially with much rumored Alfonso Soriano on the verge of returning.

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Random Thoughts: Why NY baseball fans are spoiled

It’s snowy here in NYC and that’s a nice thing especially around this wonderful time of year right before Christmas and Chanukah or whatever you celebrate. If Kwanza, Happy Happy!

But here I am with this one thought floating around my brain. It centers on New York baseball and its fans. Let’s face it! There’s no more spoiled fanbase than our city’s two teams which the majority support.

What other city’s baseball fans demand and expect to land the biggest free agent superstars every Winter? Not even the Red Sox who have won two more World Series than both the Yankees and Mets combined the past eight years get every star by overpaying like our teams do.

Sure. Francisco Rodriguez fell into Omar Minaya’s lap and the three years at the price of 36 million ain’t bad for the former Halo who established a new regular single season record with 62 saves. But that also had to do with the market and other options like Brian Fuentes who remains unsigned along with seasoned vet and all-time save leader Trevor Hoffman. Heck. The Astros still could put up Jose Valverde one year after acquiring him. How did that Brad Lidge deal workout again?

Getting back to the point, K-Rod is an elite closer in the upper echelon with Mariano Rivera, Jonathan Papelpon, Lidge and the much overlooked Joe Nathan. By acquiring him on their terms, the Mets addressed their biggest flaw which prevented them from October play a second straight season.

But by also going out and dealing for former Mariners closer J.J. Putz to hand the ball off to Rodriguez, Minaya instantly bolstered his pen with arguably the best 1-2 punch in the Senior Circuit. How it works out remains to be seen.

Thing is what other team’s fans would have expected this? No other city is like New York when it comes to its baseball teams. We always believe we’re getting the big star. Whether it’s a top flight ace like Johan Santana last year or the best free agent starter in C.C. Sabathia this month landing in the Bronx for a ridiculous seven years worth 161 million matching the old street they played at, baseball fans here hold their teams to a different level.

We want them to buy the best players and improve our teams even if it doesn’t always guarantee a world championship. I bet Met fans at this point would settle for just a division crown guaranteeing October after how the last two years have gone. And Pinstripe supporters are just hoping Ca$h Cow and A.J. Burnett (5 yrs, 82.5 million) are enough to get them back to the postseason when they’re competing with the Rays and Sahhhxxx.

In other words, there are no guarantees despite what our teams have done thus far. Sadly, it’s not over with the Yanks still chasing Manny Ramirez and possibly Mark Teixeira although I believe it was just to jack up the price which seems to have worked with the Red Sox bidding adieu to landing the switch hitting first base slugger who also can flash the leather.

The Yankee brass won’t be satisfied until they’ve acquired every All-Star as if that change in philo$ophy has paid dividends since they threw the gauntlet at Jason Giambi when George Steinbrenner got his own network. Alex Rodriguez still resides at third and the team has won exactly one playoff series in the four years the future home run King’s been here. You can bring in whoever you so desire but it doesn’t exactly mean anything.

It still doesn’t account for team chemistry. You don’t need to spend a fortune to win. But you can’t exactly field a team like the Omaha Royals do or Pirates. Toss in the Padres since they’re trying to sell off former NL Cy winner Jake Peavy because the owner is going through a messy divorce. This is the sad state of baseball.

Where not every fanbase has as much to get excited for when it comes to pitchers and catchers. If you live here, all you hear are baseball fans calling up WFAN in NY as if we’re already in April. It grows about as tiresome as all the NFL talk. Granted. At least it’s more warranted with a lot riding on the line for the Jets and Giants this weekend.

Sometimes, I still ponder what exactly basketball or hockey did so wrong. The Knicks get air time only cause they’re watchable again due to Mike D’Antoni’s up-tempo unselfish brand of basketball. At least for now until something else develops with the Stephon Marbury fiasco.

Compared to baseball and football, the hoops discussion is still limited because the hardcore fan knows that this Knick team might not even be good enough to make the playoffs as an eighth seed. It’s really all about 2010 with a free agent class of LeBron, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and future Knick Amare Stoudemire.

As for the Nets who are a better act and are broadcast on FAN with Devin Harris torching Jason Kidd for 43 and 13 assists last night, nobody really cares. They rarely get mentioned except for loyal Net fan midday co-host Evan Roberts. Pretty sad for a station which airs their games.

As for hockey, what is it? Mike Francesa blatantly ignores it as if it were the plague. Chris Carlin’s Morning Warmup show is all hot air over the baseball and football teams. Anything but hockey seems to be the breakfast recipe.

It gets a little acknowledgment from Boomer and Carton along with Ranger fan Joe Benigno and Roberts due to interest in the Rangers. Esiason also is a huge Blueshirt supporter sometimes showing up at games. Steve Somers is probably the best hockey guy due to his passion for the Rangers and funny Islanders (Icelanders) skits. He was upset about Mats Sundin choosing the Canucks due to Glen Sather’s inability to make necessary cap space because of scrubs like Dmitri Kalinin (2.1 M) wasting away on the roster.

Mark Melusis to be fair also talks puck and tries to cover all sides including the Devils, who are broadcast on the station but may as well be playing their games in Siberia.

How is it that this station can air the NJ basketball and hockey team but rarely ever give them any love? Hypocrite$.

And what does it got to do with? Beloved baseball and football. The only sports which MATTER to them because of one word. One which I now deem evil. Rating$.

That’s all they care about. I got a question for the baseball fans out there. Is it really so hard to go a day without obsessing over which big star we’re going to wind up with next?

Wake me up when it’s May.

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More HB

-Can anyone explain that lineup Joe Girardi put out last night versus Twins lefty Glen Perkins, who previously was 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA against the Yankees before becoming a new Dad and baffling them for eight scoreless on just four hits in a 4-0 win- sending the Bronx Bombers to their fourth straight defeat?!?!?!?!?! With his ballclub struggling and continuing to lose ground in the AL East race, Girardi inexplicably sat out lefty hitters Johnny Damon and Jason Giambi against the first place Twins and then helplessly watched as his lifeless team did nothing bouncing into two inning ending double plays while wasting another good outing from Sidney Ponson (7.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 2 K). They left 12 men on base and struck out seven times including the side being K’d by Minny closer Joe Nathan to end another frustrating night. To top it all off lefty Bobby Abreu had half the Yanks’ hits. What on earth convinced Girardi to start Justin Christian in left as the leadoff hitter? And why would he play Richie Sexson over Giambi? If anything, playing Christian in center over the struggling Melky Cabrera who grounded into one of the DPs would’ve made more sense. He could’ve then had Damon bat first and hit Christian ninth.

-With the first place Rays and Red Sox continuing to play well, it looks more and more like the Yanks are done. They trail Boston by five for the wild card with the White Sox ahead of them as well. Meanwhile, Tampa even with injuries to key starters Evan Longoria and Carl Crawford has a four game lead on Boston and leads the Pinstripes by nine.

Does anyone aside from WFAN’s Mike Francesa believe this bunch have it in them to make a run? It’s sure looking grim.

-While we’re on the subject, how is it that Mike Lupica can actually believe Girardi’s done a good job? Even with all the injuries to key players, his in game managing has been very lackluster. Some of his decision making has been baffling. Last night wasn’t the first time he put in a weak lineup basically giving the opponent a win. It also happened against Lupica’s Mets which allowed Oliver Perez an easy ‘W.’ From these decisions to the bullpen follies, Girardi hasn’t distinguished himself. If he really was doing such a solid job, why hasn’t he been able to get through and motivate his still talented club to perform up to capability? There are no excuses.

-Watching Michael Phelps swim is like watching someone play a video game because that’s how easy the USA Olympic gold medalist makes it look. He just glides out there and turns it on. We have to agree with record holder Mark Spitz that it’s a travesty that he wasn’t invited to Beijing. Especially if Phelps gets the elusive eight golds and breaks his record.

-Could someone please tell NBC that Americans aren’t the best at everything? There are other good countries as evidenced by China’s display in the men’s gymnastics yesterday easily taking gold while Japan got silver with the USA finishing with a bronze without both Hamms. It’s not always a disaster when our country gets beat. This is the Olympics. Where the competition aside from men’s basketball which our redeem team should win at is fairly balanced.

-Just to illustrate the big difference between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, have a gather at yahoo’s Martin Rogers’ piece on how differently each is treating their Olympic experience. It also gives you an idea of Federer’s suddenly fragile psyche while the soon to be new No.1 is having as much fun as possible.

-Serena Williams looked pretty good in her second round win this morning. It says here she’s taking gold.

-How come nobody ever criticizes Omar Minaya for not going out and getting a reliever when his pen resembles more of one filled with mud and pigs? Just wondering.

-Weezer comes to play the Garden Sept.24. Who else can’t wait?

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