Susan Lulgjuraj has been a sports reporter for more than 10 years, covering the Super Bowl, the Philadelphia Phillies, Little league and everything in between. Susan also grew up a New York Yankees fan and sat with the Bleacher Creatures for many years.

Author Archives: Susan Lulgjuraj

What should the Yankees do with Tanaka?

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Masahiro Tanaka’s hamstring injury doesn’t seem to be too serious. Sure, he was held out of last night’s start, but that’s to be expected right now. Tanaka needs to be fresh for the postseason, which likely will start October 6 for the Yankees.

Tanaka is supposed to see a doctor today to determine when he is able to come back.

October 6 – the date of the American League Wild Card Game – is a Tuesday. Yankees are still 3.5 games back of the Toronto Blue Jays and can’t seem to overcome the hurdle known as the Blue Jays this season.

Part of me is relegating to the Yankees to the Wild Card Game even though there is still time left. Yankees and Toronto both play some pretty bad teams the rest of the way.

So this all comes down to what should the Yankees do about Tanaka?

At this point, there is no other pitcher I would rather see on the hill for the Yankees in the first game of their postseason other than Tanaka.…

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Daily News layoffs could affect how sports fans get their information

Before yesterday’s Yankees game, much of the news was focused on the layoffs at the New York Daily News. A number of people got let go from the New York City newspaper, including several people from the sports department.

This isn’t a post about celebrating someone getting laid off or talking about the future of these employees. Personally, I wish those people affected the best and hope to land on their feet quickly. Instead, this is a post about the future of sports coverage from news outlets.

The New York Daily News was one of my go-to news sources for several years when it came to reading about the Yankees. I would check the game recap, read quotes, consider columnists’ concerns and opinions. It would provide fodder for my conversations whether we were praising and downplaying the article in question.

Now with the likes of Mike Lupica, Teri Thompson and others from Daily News gone, I wonder how that is going to affect coverage of the Yankees.…

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Stretching out Adam Warren

Adam Warren may be moving back to the rotation soon. With Nathan Eovaldi out until at least the end of the regular season, the Yankees began to stretch him out in last night’s loss to the Orioles.

Sabathia pitched 4.2 innings (throwing 85 pitches), giving a run (three earned), striking out five and walking three. Eighty five was Sabathia’s limit, so in came Warren. The reliever went 2.2 innings and threw 47 pitches, his longest outing since August 5.

While the Yankees have five guys already in the rotation, it makes sense to give them a bit of rest through the end of the year, of which there are only 23 games left. It preserves them ever so slightly for the playoffs, but stretching out Warren also gives the Yankees insurance for Sabathia. With Sabathia dealing with right knee inflammation, and having to wear a brace while he pitches, there is no guarantee as to how that knee is going to hold up the rest of the way.…

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Series preview: Four-game set with the Indians starts tonight

Yanks vs CLE

Here’s hoping this series goes better than the last. Courtesy of Getty Images

The Yankees current winning ways started in Cleveland last week. New York has won six of its last seven, and hope to keep adding numbers to that ‘W’ column when the Indians start a four-game series at Yankee Stadium today.

Here’s a glance at each game in the series:

Thursday, August 20: RHP Ivan Nova vs. RHP Josh Tomlin

Nova has shown signs of improvement recently, having one real tough outing in his last five. For many of the Indians batters, this is their first look at Nova. The only Cleveland player with any amount of significant at-bats against him is Mike Aviles, and he has only had eight appearances against Nova.

Tomlin is making just his second start of the season. He’s gone through a series of injuries and rehab assignments in the last couple of years.

Matchup to watch:
Ryan Raburn vs. Nova: 3-for-5, 1.200 OPS.…

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My take on the Yankees/Red Sox ‘rivalry’

In October 2003, I sat in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium and watched a home run ball launch into the night sky, completing the greatest game I have ever seen.

Aaron Boone hit a home run in the 11th inning against the Red Sox in Game 7 of the ALCS.

The next year, the Yankees lost in seven in a monumental comeback by the Red Sox, who went on to win the World Series.

And the New York/Boston rivalry has never been the same.

The Yankees facing the Red Sox will always have extra zest compared to most other games, but this burning rivalry has felt lit by a matchstick recently.

I still HATE losing to the Red Sox, but losing to them doesn’t have the same oomph anymore. I wish it did. I wish both teams were good at the same times again so instead of Boston winning every other year and the Yankees plucking a World Series victory in 2009, these two teams would go at it with hard bitterness.…

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Mark Teixeira is the bat the Yankees have needed

Getty Images / Jim McIsaac

Getty Images / Jim McIsaac

I used to be down on Mark Teixeira. I felt bad for him because of the injuries, but at the same time, the injuries drove me crazy.

The Yankees paid a lot of money for him and he couldn’t stay healthy over the last several years. I wondered if Teixeira would actually be good again – or come close to what he did in New York in 2009. That year, he was great: 122 RBI, 39 HR, .292 BA, .948 OPS, and finished second in the MVP voting.

This year, my feelings for Teixeira have been different. I love all the extra base hits, but it actually looks like Teixeira is having fun. I see a lot of smiles out there and he genuinely looks like he is enjoying baseball. This hasn’t been the case for the last couple of years.

But even greater than my feelings – because, really, it doesn’t matter what I feel about him – is that New York needs this.…

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ARod on the road to 3,000 hits


Courtesy of Getty Images

I’m going to the Yankees game tonight. If Arod is still not at 3,000 hits, I may go tomorrow too.

It’s no secret that I don’t hate him – or many others here at IIATMS. So, I am looking forward to ARod getting his 3,000th hit. Not for me. Not for baseball. But because I think it would be good for ARod.

He needs three more hits to get that elusive mark. Just 28 players have reached that plateau in MLB history.

There has been no fanfare. No crazy marketing push. No ARod to 3K.

And that’s OK.

I think ARod has turned the corner this year. He has said the right things, which is likely calculated, but what ARod has really done this year is shown the non-robot side of him. He teared up when he tied/surpassed Willie Mays on the all-time home run list. He has been one of the biggest cheerleaders in the Yankees dugout even while not playing.…

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Joe Girardi faces big test in Miller’s DL stint

Having two good – if not great – bullpen options makes being a manager look easy.

There’s not a great formula needed when you have Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller pitching in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively. Pitch them both in either inning, it hasn’t really mattered.

But things got curious over the last couple of days with Joe Girardi’s decisions. First, he said Betances off on Wednesday, and promised he didn’t plan on using him even though the Yankees were off on Thursday. Betances threw 14 pitches the night before.

Sure, there is a long stretch of games coming up, but Betances is not going to be needed in every game in this stretch.

Then, it was announced after yesterday’s game that Andrew Miller was headed to the deal with a forearm muscle strain. There goes the closer, but the Yankees have Betances sliding into his spot in the ninth.

Yet, the worrisome part is that Miller stated to reporters after yesterday’s game that his issue didn’t occur suddenly.…

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This could be an interesting week for the Yankees

I feel like we have been here before. The last couple of the seasons the Yankees had a solid start with different players coming through in the clutch.

And, then, things fell apart – or more that it just stays even.

New York has lost 7 of its last 8, and won just two games on its recent nine-game road trip. These two days off this week may very well be needed as it starts a six-game home stand followed by a seven-game West Coast road trip tomorrow. Their next day off is not until June 4.

This coming week could be an important one in the Yankees season. Two months in, and things start to potentially show how the Yankees are going to play for the rest of the season.

In 2013, the Yankees were 30-18 on May 31. Starting on June 1, they finished the season 54-53, a mediocre team.

Last season, New York was just average the entire time with a few moments where it looked better than just OK.…

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