When Hank Steinbrenners attack

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Hank Steinbrenner, who somehow managed to gnaw off the muzzle with which he had been fitted in 2009, decided to unload on mansion-building ballplayers, the Yankees’ alleged lack of the “hunger” and communists while talking to the Yankees beat writers today. The highlights, courtesy of Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger:

  • Hank called last year’s Yankees team unfocused, saying that they concentrated too much on “building mansions.”  He added that he wasn’t singling anyone out, but it should be noted that Derek Jeter is currently building a mansion;
  • He said that the Yankees celebrated too much after winning it all in 2009. This year’s team, however, has the “the hunger” in his opinion.
  • Finally, he blasted revenue sharing and the luxury tax, calling it “socialism.”  He said “communism, socialism, whatever you want to call it, is never the answer.”

How a team that wins 95 games and makes the LCS can be characterized as lacking “hunger” is a bit of mystery.  Why he would go after Derek Jeter like that is even more of a mystery.

But I gotta tell ya, I’m 100% on board with Hank when he goes after the communism that is Major League Baseball’s revenue sharing system.  Those other owners can’t accept handouts!  They ought to make their way in the world and pull themselves up by their bootstraps!

You know, like Hank Steinbrenner did.

Phillies walk off winners thanks to a poor decision by Marcell Ozuna

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The Phillies’ bullpen, which has not been good as of late, gift-wrapped Monday’s game for the Cardinals. Starter Nick Pivetta was brilliant, fanning 13 while allowing two runs in 7 1/3 innings. But things unraveled after he left the game. Victor Arano took over for Edubray Ramos to start the ninth inning with the Phillies leading 4-2, but he allowed a one-out single and a double. After striking out Harrison Bader, Arano appeared to strike out Yairo Munoz for the final out of the game, but the ball trickled through the legs of catcher Andrew Knapp, allowing a run to score and the tying run to move to third base. Lefty Adam Morgan came in to face pinch-hitter Kolten Wong. Wong tied the game up, sneaking a single into center field.

In the 10th inning, Jake Thompson gave up the go-ahead run on a leadoff home run to Tommy Pham. It seemed like it was just going to be another one of those losses that have become increasingly common for the Phillies lately. But the Phillies’ offense didn’t go down quietly, even though it hadn’t put a runner on second base since the start of the second inning when J.P. Crawford doubled. In the bottom half of the 10th, Hoskins blooped a single into shallow left-center to start the inning. Hoskins moved to second base on a ground out from Odubel Herrera. Matt Bowman intentionally walked Carlos Santana, then struck out Jesmuel Valentin. That brought up Aaron Altherr, who replaced Nick Williams after Williams took a baseball to the face off of the right field fence. Bowman fell behind 2-1, then threw a 90 MPH fastball that Altherr lined into left field. Rather than keep the ball in front of him, Marcell Ozuna decided to dive for the ball to make the final out, but he missed. The ball trickled past him, allowing the tying and the game-winning runs to score, giving the Phillies a come-from-behind win.

On the list of people happy to see Ozuna miss that ball are Altherr (of course), Arano, Morgan, and Thompson. But perhaps no one was happier than manager Gape Kapler. The win might help take the heat off of him somewhat after another poor performance from the bullpen. When a team struggles, everyone wants a scapegoat and Kapler is an easy target. He has been all year, undeservingly.

Phillies radio broadcaster and former major league reliever Larry Anderson said after the bullpen meltown, “Not everybody can pitch in the ninth inning. And I know Gabe Kapler thinks they can, but they can’t.” Aside from Ramos and Seranthony Dominguez (who was unavailable after throwing 52 pitches between Saturday and Sunday in Milwaukee), no one in that bullpen has been reliable. The closer, Hector Neris, just got optioned to Triple-A. You work with what you have, and right now, Kapler doesn’t have a whole lot. Thankfully for him, he wasn’t punished with another loss thanks to Ozuna.