I just got back to my desk from a meeting and heard Charley Steiner read a statement issued by Howard Rubernstein, on behalf of George Steinbrenner. This short of it, George isn't happy but he's satisfied with everyone's assurances that things will change. Here is the statement:
“The season is still very young, but up to now the results are clearly not acceptable to me or to Yankee fans. However, Brian Cashman, our general manager, Joe Torre, our manager, and our players all believe that they will turn this around quickly. I believe in them. I am here to support them in any way to help them accomplish this turnaround. It is time to put excuses and talk away. It is time to see if people are ready to step up and accept their responsibilities. It is time for all of them to show me and the fans what they are made of. Let’s get going. Let’s go out and win and bring a world championship back to New York. That’s what I want.”
I think everyone is pretty confident that things will change soon. But it's time from them to put up or shut up and put their money where their mouths are. Can you imagine if baseball teams were run like most companies? Imagine if the Yankees could "write-up" or put in place some sort of disciplinary action on say Bobby Abreu for not doing his job. If I wasn't meeting my boss' expectations you can sure as "heck" bet that I'd get a nice talking to. If I flat out couldn't do the job they were paying me for, you can sure bet I'd be fired.
I'm glad that Torre is staying. He does at times make me scratch my head and wonder what he's doing (i.e. Mientkiewicz batting 2nd). He sometimes seems to have his wits about him. Other times he reminds me a lot of Junior Soprano. But I do think he is doing the best he can with what he's got and what he's had to deal with. You can only do so much with injuries and with underperformers like Bobby Abreu. I hope when all is said and done Torre gets to go out on his terms. He's done enough for the organization that I think he deserves that.
But things definitely need to change.
Monday, April 30, 2007
I just got back to my desk from a meeting and heard Charley Steiner read a statement issued by Howard Rubernstein, on behalf of George Steinbrenner. This short of it, George isn't happy but he's satisfied with everyone's assurances that things will change. Here is the statement:
Sunday, April 29, 2007
I'm listening to the Sox and Pinstripes radio show. Vince and his Yankee guest (I forget his name) were talking about the Yankee rotation and Vince posed the question is there anyone to trade for pitching. A crazy scenario hit me. Why not trade Melky Cabrera? He's basically relegated to a backup role with an occasional spot start when someone needs rest or is injured. So why not shop Melky? Follow me on this. Matsui and Damon are each locked up for a few more years. Abreu's contract is up at the end of the year and assuming the Yanks don't bring them back (and why would they if he can't hit the ball) I can't see them awarding the starting spot to Melky, especially when guys like Ichiro and Andruw Jones would be available. So again, Melky would be nothing more than a backup. Trading Melky for pitching would obviously open up a spot in the OF. Can you say Bernie Williams anyone?
I know the Yankee OF will be pretty old in a few years, so do we ride it out and hold onto the Melkman to step in as a full-time starter when that time comes? Keep in mind, the Yankees do have Jose Tabata in the minors, who by all accounts is going to be a pretty good major leaguer. So maybe there is no real need to keep Melky around as Tabata will likely be ready by the time those spots open up.
So say your Yankee GM Brian Cashman, do you shop Melky? I think you do, and I'll be honest, it's partially because Bernie is out there. I think the Yankee offense could use a guy like Bernie. And what Yankee fan wouldn't want to see Bernie back in Pinstripes?
You know things aren't good when you pull up Yankees.com and the tagline reads "Mientkiewicz leading offense vs. Sox." When Doug Mientkiewicz is responsible for pretty much your entire run production, you're in trouble.
I don't think anyone could have scripted this game. Mientkiewicz hits a 3-run homer. Julian Tavarez shuts down the Yankee offense. Chien-Ming Wang gives up 2 dingers. Alex Cora goes yard and just misses having a 2-homer day. Definitely a weird game.
Wang had a good outing. I do question why Torre pulled him after 6 as he was only at 84 pitches. He definitely could have thrown 1 more, even with a split nail. But instead he gets the hook and Proctor makes it a 2-run game, and then Henn makes things even worse giving up a 2-run shot to ManRam. Torre has made some questionable moves this year and few seem to work out. There's a lot of talk in the Bronx that Torre's job is on the line. While I really hope Torre makes it through the season, it might not hurt to shake things up a little bit. It should be an interesting off day.
It would have been nice to see Alex break the HR and RBI record for April, but alas, it wasn't meant to be. He will without a doubt be the Player of the Month. What he did this month was absolutely remarkable. He's going to make this a fun season to watch. I just hope he didn't shoot his load way too early.
I can't believe I'm going to say this but congratulations to Bobby Abreu for finally doing what he gets paid to do. I'm sure Bobby won't be sad to put April behind him. And am I the only one that thought he could have caught Cora's triple? That ball looked pretty catchable, but it's easy for me to say that sitting on my couch.
The Yankees end April 9-14, losers of 7 of their last 8, 6.5 games behind the Red Sox. It wasn't the start to the season we expected. It's hard to believe the Yankees have the 2nd worst record in the American League, barely ahead of the Kansas City Royals. If the Colorado Rockies win today, the Yankees will be the 3rd worst team in all of baseball. Nobody saw that coming. It's hard to believe, it really is. The Yankees are a much better team than their record indicates. It's going to be a great story come October when they win their 10th straight division title. This team will win its fair share of ball games. If anybody thinks they'll continue to play this poorly, you're in for quite the surprise.
Things can only go up from here.
I just want to send a personal thanks to Kevin Youklis for putting the whammy on teammate J.D. Drew. On last Saturday's Fox broadcast, Youklis introduced the Sox lineup and referred to Drew as J.D. "I Hit Everything" Drew. Since that introduction, Drew is 4-for-31 and his average has dropped from .346 to .278. Coincidence? I think not. I wanted to mention this earlier but I didn't want to jinx it back in Drew's favor, but since he's out of the lienup, what could it hurt?
Saturday, April 28, 2007
ended up going to Toronto for the Jays/Rangers game. I won't bore you with the details but the Rangers won in extra innings. I didn't get any autographs (bummer) though I just missed getting Mark Teixeira's. I brought along my XM Radio so I could listen to the Yanks game on the ride home. Since the Jays game went to extra frames, I turned it on while the Jays game went to the 9th. I got a few weird looks when I started clapping while nothing was happening at the Jays game, especially when Igawa got Big Fatty to ground into the DP in the 1st. The Jays fans must have thought I was on crack or something.
Am I the only who thought the Baseball Gods were against us when Karstens took the first pitch of the game of the knee (he has a cracked fibula)? I thought to myself, "You've got to be kidding me. I can't believe this is happening." I thought for sure this was going to turn into another game where the Yankee bullpen would be overused. But in stepped Kei Igawa, and he gave the Yankees exactly what they needed. I have a lot of confidence in Igawa. I had wanted him to start this game over Karstens in the first place, though I didn't want him to come in because of an injury. We've seen Kei pitch well before. He's fully capable of getting out major league hitters as he again demonstrated today. You've got to give it up to him. He shut the Sox down. He's definitely earned himself a few more starts.
It sounded like the Yankee had plenty of chances to break this game wide open but failed many times. 7 hits, 8 walks and 2 errors, or as John Sterling calls them, "eras." 17 baserunners and the Yankees managed 3 runs? That's not good. This offense should score a lot more than 3 runs with that many baserunners. I was sitting in traffic outside the Rogers Centre when Jorgie juiced one. That made the gridlock a little easier to bear. I really like listening to baseball on the radio, but I'm not big fans of John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. Sterling can be okay at times but he needs to come up with new catchphrases. "Jorgie juiced one." That's bad. He might as well say "Jorgie porgie pudding and pie. Hit a homer and made them cry." They're both pretty ***. I hate that as much as "Robbie Cano. Don't you know." Horrible. I do like "A-bombs from A-Rod," but who doesn't? I hope we hear that many, many more times this year.
The last 2 innings of the game were absolute murder. I was about 5 kilometers 9hey, I was in Canada) from the US/Canadian border when Farnsworth walked Ortiz. The last thing I wanted was to be at the border if the Sox were making a comeback. I was picturing myself sitting there with the customs agent and hearing a faint John Sterling call a Sox homerun, and me letting out a loud F-bomb. I was about 45 seconds from the border when Farnsworth got Crisp looking to end the inning. I saw the highlight of Coco getting all gangsta on the umpire when I got home. That made me chuckle.
I was extremely nervous in the 9th. The last thing I wanted to hear on my final 10 minutes of drive time was Mo blow another save. The leadoff single to Varitek didn't do anything to help calm my nerves. 1 out. 2 outs. 3 outs. Yankees win. Yankees win. Thuhhhhh Yankees win.
That phrase never sounded so sweet. I'll be back with more later.
I found this picture of Manjaya and David Ortiz on Yahoo. I think this is the perfect picture for a "create your own caption contest." Winner gets the respect and admiration from everybody esle.
"Oh Manny. It's not the HGH that makes my heart skip a beat. It's staring into your beautiful eyes." or, and I cleaned this up a lot for the kids, "So that's why they call you ManRam?"
Friday, April 27, 2007
I was half-tempted to make this blog short and sweet. It was going to be 1 simple sentence: See yesterday's post. It would certainly fit. But then I changed my mind, so here I am.
Is this is the new definition of "Yankee baseball?" A lackluster pitching performance followed by some more shoddy pitching and if we're lucky, the offense will bail everybody out. I've never seen this style of baseball before. Not from the Yankees anyway.
What happened to Andy Pettitte in the 5th inning? Total meltdown. It's almost as if he was meant to pitch less than a full 5. Maybe it was something in that hour stretch of time. Like a mini jet-stream causing balls to change their trajectory mid-flight so they missed the strike zone. Both Pettitte and Dice-K were struggling with the control. It did Pettitte in. Dice-K escaped because the bottom of the Yankee order blows. I don't know what it is about the Yankee pitching staff, but they are all stinking up the joint. It doesn't even seem logical that they could be performing so poorly. Even the great Mariano can't even seem to get it done. Another 5 relievers used. It's getting tired. Special kudos to Mike Myers. Way to go.
I highly recommend that Bobby Abreu go visit an eye doctor. He's mired in his own Mientkiewicz-like slump. I never thought I'd say that. I'm at a loss for words here. I don't really know what else to say.
The only saving grace is that it's early and there's plenty of time to turn things around. I keep telling myself that they've been in this position before and thing will get better. But as each game plays out like the game from the day before, I get more and more frustrated. 7 losses in a row. Not a fun place to be.
I have tickets to tomorrow's Blue Jays/Rangers game. I was on the fence about going because I'd miss the Yanks/Sox game, but now, the decision is pretty easy. I'll likely end up listening to it on the radio. With any luck, I'll get a few autographs. I'm hoping to get Michael Young and Mark Teixiera on my team-USA WBC ball. And as much as I don't like Slammin' Sammy, I wouldn't pass it up.
Like yesterday this post was written well before the game ended. It's currently the top of the 9th and any chance of a Yankee comeback just went out the window. I'm just waiting for the game to end before I hit "publish." And Abreu grounds weakly to the pitcher. Shocker.
Oh, what I could have done with that 4 hours?
Another Yankee pitcher fails to go 5. Second verse, same as the first.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
This is getting old. A Yankee starter can't finish 5, the bullpen gets overused, Yankees lose, thuhhhhhh Yankees lose. 6 in a row. Dead last in the AL East. Not a good place to be. But it's still early. They've been here before. They've battled back. They can do it again.
As I wrote earlier, I thought Phil Hughes had a good outing. It wasn't quite the 7 inning shutdown performance we all hoped it be, but it was pretty solid all things considered. He started out a little shaky but he settled down and kept the Yankees in the game. Perhaps he was a little nervous. I can understand that. Bright lights. Big city. A starry-eyed kid getting his first crack at the show for arguably the most storied franchise in professional sports. It can be a lot for a 20-year old to handle. I've heard it mentioned that Hughes is more mature than the average 20-year old. I can see that. He carries himself well.
I'm still on the fence though with the Hughes call up. The move has negatives and positives. He may be the best internal candidate for the job, but you know the odds of him pitching deep into the game are slim. He's not even doing it in the minors. I understand the kid is the future of the franchise and they want to reduce the risk of injury by keeping him on a pitch count, but what good is it to have another starter that can't pitch 5 innings, and then use 4 relievers to finish the game? The Yankees need innings from their starters. They won't get that consistently from Hughes. Maybe in a year or two. He's definitely the future of the franchise.
The bullpen has to stop walking people. Hey, I've got a great idea! Let's walk the bases loaded and pitch to Frank Thomas. Come on, who's with me? Now they might have gotten Thomas to pop out, but giving up 2 runs on no-hits. That's brutal. The free passes have to stop. The Yankee relievers lead the AL in walks issued by a bullpen. The pen walked another 5 tonight. It's getting to be ri-gosh-darn-diculous. I cleaned that up for the kiddies. Going into tonight, opponents were hitting .205 off the Yankee pen. That's 2nd in the AL behind Cleveland. This bullpen can be dominant. We've seen it. They just need to stop walking people!
What the heck was Torre thinking batting Mientkiewicz second? Anybody have a clue? I sure don't. 2 words: Robinson Cano. C'mon Joe. My unborn baby could have gotten that right. Unfortunately, I don't really think it would have mattered. The offense was extremely flat. The top of the order isn't doing a very good job at setting the table for the big boppers. Over the 6 game losing streak, Damon is 2-for-19 and Abreu is 2-for-20 . That's horrendous and quite frankly it's unacceptable. The Yankees continue to get solid production from the middle of the order, but what good is it if no one is on base?
I hate to say this but this weekend series with Boston is shaping up to be do or die. I know it's early, but the Yankees can't really afford to drop 2 or 3. Anything less than winning 2 out of 3 would be unacceptable. You know Big Stein can't be too happy right now, and I can't blame him. If the Sox come in and sweep the Yankees, I shudder to think what kind of shake-up we might see. But it might just be what this team needs to turn things around.
What's really sad is that I wrote the bulk of this post well before this game ended.
Hughes is done. Final line = 4.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5K, 91 pitches
The debut pretty much went as expected. It wasn't bad. It wasn't great. You hoped he'd make it a little deeper into the game but you knew he'd be lucky to make it through 5. He struggled in the first inning, but settled down, maintained composure, and all things considered had a decent outing. The kid showed a lot of promise. The Yankee bats just need to plate some runs and get the kid off the hook.
Come on bats! Wake up!
The day is upon us. All eyes will be focused on the Bronx tonight when highly-touted rookie prospect Phil Hughes makes his ML debut against the Blue Jays. While I don't think he's going to be our savior this year, he is definitely going to be the face of the Yankee rotation in the future. By all accounts, he's got the stuff to be the real deal. And it all starts tonight. I just hope it lives up to the hype.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Every dark cloud has its silver lining. Besides the obvious extra day's rest for the bullpen, the Yankees now have the good fortune of moving Andy Pettitte's start back to Friday. Pettitte vs. Dice-K. That works out quite nicely for us Yankee fans. This means will now have Pettitte, Wang and either Karstens or Igawa matching up against the bottom of the Red Sox rotation. I'd honestly prefer to see Igawa get that start with Karstens getting an extended visit to the bullpen. The Sox haven't seen Igawa yet and that could be a plus for the Yankees. Just keep the pitches down Kei. Keep the pitches down. Jeter, Damon and Posada get an extra day to take it easy. And did I mention the bullpen gets an extra day's rest? Much needed and much deserved. It's as if the Baseball Gods (and Mother Nature) feel our pain.
Sing it with me Yankee fans: "Grey skies are gonna clear up......"
With last night's loss to the Devil Rays, the Yanks are now dead last in the AL East. Now if we were after the All-Star break, I'd be a little disappointed, but it's early, and even though the Yanks are in the midst of a 5 game losing streak, they're only 4 games out. If teams want to let the Yankees hang around, like they do year after year when the Yanks struggle out of the gate, I'll take it. The Yankees are a much better team than their record indicates and it's only a matter of time before the bounces start going their way and things start rolling. Remember 2005? On May 6 of 2005, the Yankees were 11-19, 9 games behind the 1st place Orioles and 6.5 back of the 2nd place Red Sox. The Yankees have shown time and time again that they're a resilient bunch that can overcome a little dysfunction. Things just have to start looking up. They just have to. Right?
It was good to see Chien-Ming back on the bump. I thought he had a pretty solid outing. It was typical Wang. 6.1 IPs on 81 pitches. And they say he can't go deep into games? Please. I was a little confused why Torre pulled him in the 7th. If there was ever a time you wanted a ground ball DP it was then. Wang consistently induces groundball outs. He was far and away the league leader in groundball outs in 2006. Why Torre pulled him? I'll never know. I think he totally mismanaged that situation.
This bullpen is driving me crazy. It reminds me a lot of the Atlanta Braves pen from 2006. It's frustrating watching the starters turn over leads just to have the pen blow it. And in typical Yankee bullpen fashion, it was a different reliever failing to deliver. I think every reliever this year has had their own period of implosion. They need to get it out of their system and need to do it with the quickness. I thought Myers made a good pitch to Crawford. How Crawford hit it that far was beyond me? It's a shame that Wang got tagged for those 2 runs.
We knew this day was coming. The A-Rod Hit Show came to an end. I think it's more the end of the 1st act and yesterday was just the intermission, and tonight he'll be back at it, doing his thing. What he's done this April is nothing short of jaw-dropping, but even the greatest of hitters are going to get out 6 to 7 times out of every 10 at bats. Just don't keep doing it! There wasn't much production from the top part of the lineup yesterday, and that's going to happen. Jeter was knocked out in the first inning. That didn't help things. I like Cairo, but he's no Jeter. He did play a great defensive game though. Props to him for that. Matsui hit an absolute BOMB! It was good to see him get his first dinger out of the way. And Jorgie continued to swing a hot bat. He's continuing to impress.
I don't think the Yankees are nearly as bad as their record indicates. The Yankees have been in every game this year. 5 1-run losses. 5 2-run losses. 1 4-run loss. The Yankees have a lineup that's going to keep them in every game. We just need consistent pitching. The rotation is already drastically improved with Wang back. Pettitte has been a rock. It gets another shot of adrenaline when Hughes gets his shot tomorrow. Moose is right around the corner. We really need these guys to get back and stay healthy. Pettitte, Wang and moose is a great foundation to build this rotation on. The main weakness right now is what looked to be the team's biggest strength a few short weeks ago. I know they're overworked, but the bullpen has to get it done. They have to.
We definitely need to put this roadie behind us. It's been tough, but hang in there. Things will be OK.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
I guess there was a segment on SportsCenter (or Baseball Tonight) today/yesterday that talks about the Yankees stepping up recruiting efforts to bring back Roger Clemens. You can check the clip out over at ESPN.com. Giambi is apparently sending the Rocket text messages and leaving him voicemails. "When are you coming?" "We need you." And according to ESPN, his latest after the Sox sweep was "Hurry up." Maybe they need to put the 13 year girl who just became the National Texting Champion on the payroll. I wonder if Andy signs his texts to Roger with BFF?
Hey, whatever gets it done. The staff is obviously in need of help and bringing in Roger will definitely be a huge step in the right direction. You'd almost have to think he could rapidly increase his win total with the Yankee lineup providing him all that run support. I can't see the Rocket giving up 5 runs a game so odds of him winning would be really high.
Wang, Pettitte, Mussina, Hughes, Clemens. Yikes.
had another one of those headaches last night. Runny nose. Pain in the eye. Headache right in the temple. According to WebMD, it could be a tension headache. Watching the Yankees may be the source of all my problems because right now it's getting difficult to watch. Am I the only one getting frustrated with watching the pitching staff implode on itself? It's going to be a long season in the Bronx if the Yankees can't get everyone on the same page. When the pitching is on, the offense is off. When the offense is on, the pitching is off. When the pitching is on, the defense is off. We've seen signs that each sector can adequately perform it's function, but until they all do it together, they're not going to win. We've seen great things from the bullpen and from the rotation. The defense has improved. And the offense has shown that they can get to the "best" pitchers the game has to offer. We've seen a lot from the offense lately, and the defense hasn't been slouching either. The main deficiency as of late has been with the pitching staff, from both the front and back ends. Last night's loss to the D-Rays goes squarely on the shoulders of the pitching staff.
Let's start with the good. The offense. The Yanks now have 6 regulars hitting at a clip of .300 or better. Jeter .316. Abreu .306. A-Rodacus .400. Giambi .310. Posada .333. Cano .324. Even Phelps is hitting .300. Whenever you hit a team for 8 runs and 13 hits, you should win the game. A-Rod has now tied the record for most April HRs, and he still has a week to go. He's having a season for the ages, but I'm sure he'd trade a few of the dingers for a few more Yankee wins. Giambi looks like he's getting back to form as he's starting to go the other way. I think he had 2 hits last night to left-center and he had another one in the Boston finale. If Giambi can continue to hit to all fields, we're going to see that overshift disappear or shift slightly back to the norm, and that will open up a lot of holes for him. If Giambi can keep it up, pitchers won't have any choice but to pitch to A-Rod. It'll be win-win.
I'm puzzled by the inconsistency of the pitching staff. Igawa struggles, has 2 solid outings, and then struggles again. He was definitely off with his location. Posada's calling for it low and the pitch is left up. Not good. I was pretty displeased with his performance as I thought he had turned a corner. Brian Bruney was the latest victim of a subpar outing. The pen is wearing down and we're not even 20 games into the season. The starters need to do a better job of getting deeper into the game. I don't worry about Pettitte, Wang and Mussina being able to get into the 7th each game, but these rooks worry me. And is it me, or are the Yankees issuing way too many walks? My impression is that the bullpen isn't comfortable going after opposing hitters. They look like they're trying to dance around the plate as opposed to taking it to the batter. Throw strikes, get ahead in counts and the outs will come. It's frustrating.
The big news from yesterday is that the long awaited arrival of Phil Hughes is days away. I'm on the fence with this. I don't think he's ready and I was hoping to see him in AAA all year, but the current state of affairs within the Yankee organization has pretty much made this a no-brainer. While I think Hughes will be able to hold his own on the hill, if the Yankees continue to impose a pitch limit on the kid I don't see him pitching deep into the game. 5 innings tops, 6 if we're lucky. I think he needs more development and another season to get his arm ready for the bigs, but the Yankees really don't have any option here. It's much needed, but I don't think the Yankees will reap great rewards from it, and I don't see him staying on the roster permanently. I'm really anxious to see him make his debut.
The pitching staff is on the mend. Wang makes his debut tonight. It'll be good to see Chien-Ming back on the hill. I think things will get much better for the pitching staff once we get the regulars back into the rotation. Wang, Mussina and Pettitte aren't going to give up 7 runs in an outing. I know those 3 won't win every game, but if they can keep the opposing team's run total down, the offense is going to take care of the rest. The Yankees have been in every game this year. They obviously can put up the runs. It's a matter of time before the staff gets rolling.
When that happens, watch out because the Yanks will start rolling.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Hey, you can get 3 V-Dubs for under $199 a month so throw away your "The End Is Near" sign. Hope springs. Even though the Yankees were swept in Boston, there is no real need for alarm.
Did you know that this year is the 5th time in the last 7 years that the Red Sox started the season with at least an 11-5 record. 5 out of 7. That's pretty impressive. How many times did the Sox finish in first place when the season ended? 0 out of 7. That's not so impressive. We're seeing what we see every year. The Sox start hot, they cool off, the Yankees catch up, the Sox finish 2nd, or 3rd. Sox fans think that it's only a matter of time before they hold it down for an entire season. I'm sure they had similar thoughts about their World Series chances from 1918-2004. A matter of time can be in the Red Sox Nation can be 86 years.
The Sox rotation wasn't anywhere near as advertised. The greatest rotation on the planet? Hardly. A great rotation doesn't give up 16 runs in 20 innings. The Yankee lineup hit scored plenty of runs against the 1-2-3 punch that is Schilling, Beckett, and Matsuzaka. Other teams with decent lineups will do the same. The Sox offense isn't going to be able to duplicate the success they had against the Yankees staff. I mean, according to Sox fans, our starters are mediocre and can't pitch out of the 5th inning, and our bullpen is equally as bad because their worn down. Did I get that right? So if the Yankee staff is so bad, how does the Sox offense plan to score runs against teams with better staffs?
Did you know that the win-loss records of Sox opponents, not including the Yankees is currently 45-56? It's true. I looked it up. Yankee opponents have a win-loss record of 54-44. As we move through the schedule, things will balance out like they do every year.
I expect a much different outcome next week when the rivalry renews itself in the Bronx. Matsui and Posada will be back in the lineup. Wang will be back in the rotation, with Mussina trailing right behind. Wang, Moose, and Pettitte are all 200 inning pitchers. A healthy rotation means more innings from our starters, which will give the bullpen some much needed rest as they are overworked. A healthy rotation also means we likely won't be seeing Manjaya Ramirez, JD Drew, Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek hitting back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs off a pitcher with more than 1 major league start under his belt.
The fact of the matter is these 3 games could have gone either way. It was far from utter domination by the Red Sox. But wins are wins and the Sox won all 3. Big up to you. More analysis tomorrow. I gotta get up for work in 6 hours.
Disclaimer: This may not be my most coherent or most intelligent post I've ever written, I'm sitting down to write this entry while watching the "I Love New York" reunion show on VH1. I can literally feel my brain cells dying with each passing second. Yet, I can't turn the channel. I can't believe I'm watching this.
I've been spending some time this weekend over at Sox And Pinstripes, going toe-to-toe with the Sox fans as round 1 of the greatest rivalry in sports gets underway. If you want hop over and help mix things up, I'm sure Jeff and Vince won't mind. One thing I've learned throughout the years is that Sox fans and Yankee fans see things much, much differently. I've addressed it several times here since this blog started. Here is an excerpt from one of Jeff's Red Sox posts:
"Yankees fans seem to think that the return of Chien-Ming Wang and Mike Mussina will translate into consistent victories. Even if they fully regain their health - and maintain it - as Joe Buck pointed out today, they are not pitchers who eat innings. The Yankees bullpen is already showing signs of wear and tear. What condition will the bullpen be in by the All-Star break? Wang, Mussina, Pettitte, Igawa and Pavano is far from a reliable rotation. The Yankees bullpen will need its' own set of relievers by August."
For starters, who quotes Joe Buck? I don't know anyone that thinks he and Tim McCarver are knowledgeable and worth listening to. Secondly, they're not pitchers who eat innings? Excuse me? Wang had the 5th highest innings pitched total last year in the AL with 218 innings pitched, averaging 6.6 innings pitched per start. Mussina ranked 22nd, coming in with 197.1 IPs, averaging 6.16 innings per start. Let's compare them to Beckett and Schilling, shall we? Beckett ranked 14th with 204.2 IP, 6.20 IP per start. Schilling ranked 18th with 204 innings pitched, 6.58 innings per start. Considering that Schilling and Beckett are the Sox horses, I guess following Jeff's logic, the Sox bullpen will be breaking down sometime before the end of the season. Sox fans use a different dictionary than the rest of the world. We've already established that Mike Mussina isn't "very hittable." We've already established that the Yankee rotation isn't "mediocre." And now we've established that Wang and Mussina do in fact, pitch deep into ball games. If they don't, I guess nobody does. Even Johan Santana didn't average 7 full innings per start in 2006. A healthy Wang and Mussina will consistently pitch deep into ball games. Take it to the bank.
I'm at a loss for words. This show has totally drained my brain power. It's like dealing with most, but not all, Sox fans.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
I've had a poll up for quite some time now. I've decided to take it down and post the results. It was a poll asking who is the greatest if all time? the list was taken from a local radio show. They were kicking people out of the Hall Of Fame and the last man standing was the best player in the HOF, which was Willie Mays. While it wasn't the best list, I only had 8 spots so it included their top 7 plus a choice for "other." After 272 votes, here are the results:
- Babe Ruth = 79 votes @ 29.04%
- Other = 44 votes @ 16.18%
- Ted Williams = 38 votes @ 13.97%
- Hank Aaron = 30 votes @ 11.03%
- Willie Mays = 26 votes @ 9.56%
- Lou Gehrig = 22 votes @ 8.09%
- Yogi Berra = 16 votes @ 5.88%
- Roy Campanella = 14 votes @ 5.15%
- Warren Spahn = 3 votes @ 1.1%
So there you have it. Babe Ruth is your winner. If you want to see what some people thought, click here.
The Yankees dropped another one to the Sox. This one doesn't bother me though. The Yanks held their own against Beckett, who I'm sorry, but this guy is not a favorite to win the Cy young award. He has good stuff, no doubt about it, but I wouldn't classify his outing as dominant. He was at time sharp, but for the most part, he was hittable. Beckett's start to this season is almost identical to his start last season. And we all know he didn't exactly have the greatest end to a season last year. He'll fade. I have no doubts.
Karsty didn't have it today, but we kind of new he'd struggle. I don't think the Red Sox rocked him necessarily, but he definitely wasn't on his game. Maybe there's a rite pf passage that all Yankee starters in their debut have to pitch poorly in their first outing. It was nice to see the bullpen do its thing. That's exactly what the Yankees need when the starter falters. Shut the opponent down and give the offense the opportunity to get the Yanks back into the ball game. They did their job. They held the Sox scoreless and the Yankee offense made a run at it, but fell a little short.
A-Rod didn't go yard but he did extend the hit streak and racked up another extra-base hit with his double. I was so hoping to see Papelbon vs. A-Rodacus. That would have been some crazy drama. These games always seem to come down to Alex. I thought this one would also. You knew going into this game that the Yankee offense was going to struggle. No Damon and no Posada. I'm sorry but Kevin Thompson and Wil Nieves don't exactly strike fear in opposing pitchers, especially those of with Beckett's skills. I was surprised that Thomspon raked a double off Beckett, but it's sad when you know that a guy will strike out looking before the at-bat starts. Wil Nieves has to be the slowest person on the planet. I think I could have beat out his little nubber in front of the plate. And i thought Mike Piazza looked weird when he ran. Wow. Sox fans shouldn't get too excited about this win. No Posada. No Damon. No Matsui. 1/3 of the Yankee lineup was out, and it still racked up 9 hits and 5 runs off Beckett. There is no doubt in my mind that if you throw in those 3 and take out Melky, Nieves and Thompson that this game ends much differently. But that's baseball. Injuries happen.
I expect things to be much different next week when this series moves to the Bronx and the "band is back together." Hopefully by the end of the next Sox series, we have everybody back that was projected to be on the Opening Day roster, except of course for Pavano. 8-8 isn't bad all things considered. The Yankees have been far worse off in seasons past and they always make their way to the top of the standings when it matters. It's April folks. We're 16 games into the season. There's no cause for alarm, even if we get swept this weekend.
The Yanks get their first look at Dice-K tomorrow. I'm pretty sure Damon will be back in the lineup. I only hope Posada joins him. We'll need a full arsenal against him, especially with Chase Wright on the hill. I have a lot of confidence in Wright. But it's Sunday Night Baseball. It's Sox/Yankees. It's not going to be easy. But it will be fun to watch.
Peace, love and Pinstripes.
I think it's safe to say that everyone is expecting Josh Beckett to give A-Rodacus a little chin music today. Does anyone think it would make sense if the opportunity arises, for the Yankees to take a pre-emptive strike and maybe throw a little inside to Big Papi? Say the Yankees go down 1-2-3 in the 1st. Then Karstens gets out the 1st 2 Sox batters. Do you buzz Ortiz? Let's say you're Joe Torre? If you're confident that A-Rod will get brushed back, do you do it first if you get the chance? Torre has never been one to "make statements," as Yankee fans have been calling for the Yankees to throw inside at Ortiz for years.
So I pose 2 questions to everyone:
- Do you think Beckett will throw at A-Rod?
- If so, do you go on the offensive and throw inside first, or do you take a wait-and-see approach?
I think Beckett will an I'm for going on the offensive. We've been asking for it for years. Now might be the time.
It wasn't some horrific dream. I went to bed last night hoping that what I had witnessed earlier would somehow change itself into a Yankee win. I was hoping to hop online and see that the score had magically changed into the Yankee's favor. One can dream, right?
A-Rod. What more is there to say? 2 more A-Bombs. Wow. And both were off of Schilling which made them all the sweeter. I guess great pitching doesn't always beat great hitting. If it did, then Schilling I guess Schilling isn't a great pitcher. A good pitcher? Yes. A great pitcher? Mmm, not so much. A-Rod has been carrying the Yankee offense. Dude is like Spartacus. I think I'll start calling him A-Rodacus. That sounds a little on the perv side, eh? The rest of the Yankee lineup needs to consistently yell out "I am Spartacus" if this team is going to have long-term success. A-Rod can only do so much. And right now what he's doing is insane. I can't even put it into words. And was I the only one who thought that when he hit his 2nd HR, coco Crisp looked like he took a forearm shiver and flipped out of a wrestling ring, WWE style? I'm glad he's OK, but that was amusing.
Pettitte was on his game. He didn't look tremendous. His only mistake was giving up the HR to Varitek. He shut down Manny and Ortiz. He got the DP when he needed it. I didn't see that one coming. What more could we have asked for. He leaves with a 6-2 lead and turns the game over to a solid bullpen that in turn blows the win for him. It kind of reminds me of how the Atlanta Braves bullpen blew so many leads for John Smoltz last year. This is the 3rd game Pettitte has now left with a lead and the Yankee bullpen has failed to do its job. I'm not liking this developing pattern. The bullpen definitely struggled last night with the exception of Proctor. Myers comes in for the sole purpose of getting out Ortiz and he gives up the leadoff double. Vizcaino implodes for the 2nd straight game and Torre calls on Mo to get the Yankees out of the jam. Mo fails to get the job done and Yankee fans are left shaking their heads in bewilderment. This has happened to Mo before. He blew 2 the lead in 2 straight games at the start of the 2005 season, both against Boston. I don't vividly remember the games, but his stat lines weren't too impressive. He'll bounce back he always does. I think he needs to get more work. He definitely needs to get into the game more than once every 5 days. He looked like he had good stuff. He just couldn't locate his pitches. I don't think he pitched poorly. A weak single to Varitek. A weak groundball triple to Crisp, on most days Mientkiewicz makes that play. That would have been a game changer. I saw that ball hit what looked to be inside the batter's box and i thought "groundout." How that ended up a triple is beyond me. He got a little Fenway Park love. I guess the park paid him back for that flip into the bullpen. The Yanks pull the infield in and bloops a single right to where Jeter would normally be. Everything that could have gone wrong that inning did go wrong. But it's baseball. Sometimes the bounces go your way, sometimes they don't.
I made the rounds around the blogosphere last night and a lot of us Yankee fans are wondering the same thing. What the heck is Joe Torre thinking? There were a lot of questionable moves from last night's game that in hindsight have to be second guessed. Why did he pull Proctor? Why did he pinch-run for Giambi? Why was he so quick to go to Mo in the 8th? Why didn't he pinch-hit Phelps for Kevin Thompson? Joe Torre wanted this game. He knew going into the series that this was the one game on paper that was somewhat in the Yankees favor. He did what he thought was needed to secure a Yankee victory. He was wrong. Here's the one issue I have with second guessing coaches in any sport. If the play works out, you never hear about it. If Mo nailed the save, it's a great move. If Myers K's Ortiz, great move. If Thompson raps a double into the gap, great move. You don't hear anything about the moves if they work out, only when they backfire. I won't question the moves, he did what he thought he needed to. He put the pieces into place and the pieces failed to do their job.
I understand why he brought Myers in to face Ortiz. But with a 6-2 lead and with an effective Scott Proctor in the game, was it necessary? Bringing in Myers forced the Yankees to go to Vizcaino if Ortiz got on. He did, and in comes bullpen pitcher number 3. That backfired. Vizcaino came in and walked Manny, induced a ground out, and gave up a weak single to Lowell. Why the quick hook? The Yanks had a 2-run lead with 1 down, runners on the corners, and a pretty weak bottom of the lineup coming up. I can see a little bit why you'd change the arm, but why go to Mo. Why not Bruney? I'm not sure what kind of message this send to the bullpen by calling on Mo for a 5-out save. Torre tried to pull a page from Francona's playbook. It backfired.
We've talked before about pinch-running for Giambi and it coming back to bite the Yankees. Michael Kay mentioned on the postgame show that this is the 3rd time Torre has made this move this year, and this is the 3rd time it came back to hurt the Yankees. Is it necessary to pinch-run for Giambi when you have a 6-2 lead? I know every run counts, but I also know that no lead is safe in Fenway. I think we all would have wanted Giambi up against Okajima then Kevin Thompson. That move backfired. I can't find much fault in allowing Thompson to hit. Wil Nieves was on-deck and the Yankees had a better chance with Phelps batting in that spot. But Thompson K's, so now we question it. The only move of Torre's I have trouble with is pinch-running for Giambi. Stop doing it. I can understand the other moves. Like I said, had they worked out, we'd be singing a different tune.
That game was the one to get. That loss hurts. The Yankees needed to win at least one of these 3 games, and on paper, that was our best chance. The pitching matchups in the last 2 are pretty lopsided so the offense may need to do its thing. We've already knocked around Schilling. We can do the same to Beckett and Dice-K.
I agree with Michael Kay. The Yankees can win these games, easily.
Friday, April 20, 2007
This is what we've all been waiting for. The first series with the rival Red Sox. I am pumped. I can't wait for tonight. Sox v. Yankees. It's what we live for.
Some people around here think I'm crazy. My boss asked me the other day if I watch Yankee games or Buffalo Sabres games when they play at the same time. Now I wear Yankee gear to work pretty much everyday, both during the regular season and in the off season as well. It was an easy question to answer. For those that don't know, the Sabres are currently in the 1st round of the NHL playoffs. They finished the season with the best record in hockey so expectations are high. The whole city is sick with "Sabres fever" and "Cup Fever." Except of course, for me. I didn't catch the fever. I didn't jump on the bandwagon like many in the area. I'm a Yankee fan tried and true. I will always choose the Yankees. Regardless of who they play, when they play, or where they play. I will always choose the Yankees. Sabres schambres.
Not many people are giving the Yankees a chance this weekend. The pitching matchups in this series overwhelmingly favor the Sox. Schilling v. Pettitte in game 1. As Sox fans call him Josh "The Front Runner for The Cy Young" Beckett against Jeff Karstens in game 2. And the series ends with Matsuzaka, who many predicted would win the Cy Young, against Double A rookie Chase Wright. Every member of the Red Sox Nation will tell you that they have the most wicked awesome pitching rotation in the universe. It'll be a lot of fun to watch the Yankee lineup destroy their pitching. The Yanks just need to stick to their game plan. Work the counts, get the pitches you like, drive up the pitch counts, chase the starters, and stick it to the bullpen.
Sox fans will easily dismiss the Yankees pitching staff as "mediocre." We Yankee fans know it's anything but. They may be hurt, they may be a little inexperienced, but they are far from mediocre. The Yankees have the 4th best ERA in the AL at 3.67, mere percentage points behind the White Sox. That's not mediocre. Throw out the first 5 games and the Yankees team ERA is 2.72. That's not mediocre. Comparatively, the Red Sox have a team ERA of 2.58, tops in the AL, and about a run per game better than the Yankees. In their last 9 games, the Sox team ERA is 1.89. Impressive, and again, about a run less than the Yankees. So the Sox have a better staff than the Yankees, I'll give them that. But is it that much better that one is superb and one is mediocre? Hardly. The tow teams are closer than a lot of people think. Advantage = Red Sox
Offensively, there really isn't any comparison. The Yankees are hitting an AL-leading .283. They lead the AL in OBP at .356. They rank 3rd in slugging (.442)and are tops in OPS (.798). They lead the AL in runs scored with 91, averaging 6.5 runs a game. They've scored 4 runs or more 13 times in 14 games, and 6 runs or more 8 times. The Sox on the other hand rank 7th in team batting average (.249), 5th in OBP (.331), 7th in slugging percentage (.395) and 6th in OPS (.726). They rank 8th in runs scored with 68, averaging 4.9 runs per game. They've scored 4 runs or more 9 times, and 6 runs or more 5 times. Nothing bad, nothing great. The Sox are currently a little better than average. Advantage = Yankees
So, who wins? Your guess is as good as mine. I predicted last week that the Sox would win 2 of 3, mainly because they're playing in Fenway. Even with the rookie pitchers on the mound, I feel pretty confident in the Yankees chances to take 2 of 3, if not sweep the series. A lot of people think good pitching will beat a great lineup, and a lot of times it will. But the Yankees have a good pitching staff. It's going to come down to who can score the runs, and right now, that advantage goes to the Yankees. "Hey Sox fans, great job, you held the Yankee offense to 3 runs. Too bad you only scored 2." 3 beats 2. Rock beats scissors. Yankees beat Red Sox. See my point?
Is it game time yet? I like our chances....especially with the shirt.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Oh yes he did! Holy freakin' freeholy. A-Rod: It's your world bro. We just live in it.
I hate day games for the sole fact that I can't devote my undivided attention to the game. Sometimes, I'm lucky enough that I have no meetings scheduled and I can listen to it in it's entirety. Today wasn't one of those days. I had my first meeting at 2:00. It was scheduled for an hour. I usually listen to the games on my XM Radio, and lucky for me it's the MyFi, so it's portable. Whenever there's a day game and I have to leave my desk, I take it with me for the sole purpose of looking at the score. All I get is the score, the inning, and the number of outs. When I left for the meeting, I think the score was 0-0 Yankees heading into the bottom of the 3rd. Right before the meeting started, literally like 10 seconds before, I saw the score change to Yankees 1-0. I threw the fist up in the air and went, "Yesssss." My boss asked why I did that and I told her the Yankees went up 1-0. She's a Sox fan. The meeting started so I slid the radio into the pocket of the track jacket I was wearing. I tried to pull it out every few minutes or so, but I wasn't having much luck. I did notice that the Tribe tied it up, and it bummed me out. Lucky for me the meeting ended early, so I had time to listen to the game at my desk before the next meeting. That 20 minutes was pretty uneventful.
My 2nd meeting was at 3pm. This was a video conference with my boss's boss's boss's boss. There were about 20 of us and 1 of him. The numbers were in my favor so I figured I could easily stay on top of the game by sliding the radio in and out of my pocket. I saw the score go to 2-1 Yankees. I was happy. I saw the Red Sox come back to beat the Jays. I was bummed. I then saw the Tribe jumped out to a 5-2 lead. I was even more bummed. i saw the game move to the bottom of the 8th. The meeting ended. I went back to the desk, hooked up the radio and pulled up Yahoo's gamecast to see the box score. Giambi went deep. Nice. A-Rod and Jeter were both 0-4. Not so nice. Vizcaino got knocked around. ****. The Tribe just picked up another run. It's not the Yankees day. Or so I thought.
I had one of my peeps roll up to my desk to give me some feedback on a newbie. 2 outs and Phelps homered. Nice stat-padder. Way to go Phelpsie. So we're continuing our conversation and I hear Posada single, then Damon walk. The tying run's at the plate in the form of then Captain. My attention slowly starts to divert away from my peep and to John Sterling's call of the game. Jeter singles. Down by 2. Here's Bobbbbbby. Another single. Down a run. I've now totally engulfed myself in the game and we're both listening intently. Wild pitch, winning run is on second. I am now sitting Indian-style in my chair I'm so excited. And then it happened. "Swung on and....driven to deep center. It is high. It is far. It is GONE!" I jumped up out of the chair, slapped Steve a few times on his man-*****, then dropped to the ground slapping the floor as if they were bongos. I jumped up, all excited, went over to a fellow supervisor, put my hands on his shoulders and exclaimed "Yankees won baby." His reply was "It's only April. How can you be this excited?" I think the real question there was how could I not be? I gave him a quick play-by-play of the rally, and he was like, "But it's April." He's a Braves fan. Good luck with that. I basically was so amped up I couldn't work. I promptly shut off my PC, packed up my gear, and left the building.
As I'm driving home, the cell begins to vibrate and it's the missus. As much as I don't want to answer because I listening to the post game show, I do and she greets me with a "That's it. You can't go to work when the Yankees play day games because they lost!" I replied with, "What the heck are you talking about? A-Rod hit a 3-run HR to win the game!" She was of course beside herself because she had looked online before she left work and the Yankee games usually aren't on terrestrial radio in these parts when there are day games. Lucky for her, it was the point of the post-game show where they play all the highlights. I cranked up the sound and let her listen to Sterling's call. It just made me more amped to get home and watch the replay (which I've yet to do). Bah dah bah bah bah. I'm lovin' it!
I wonder where all the A-Rod haters are now. If my man had a MySpace page, you know he went from like 7 friends to over 100,000 in the span of a day. Bandwagon jumpers. You've got to love 'em. Wait, no you don't.
Looks like the Yankee shirt gets another day! Bring on the BoSox!
Yeah, I'll admit it. I'm superstitious. I believe in jinxes and all that stuff. I think most baseball fans believe that somehow things they do can influence how their team does, knowing full well that it's more of a coincidence when things seem to work or go awry. A lot of ballplayers are superstitious. Why should the fans be any different?
I have this Nike Yankee shirt. It's classified as performance apparel, but it's loose-fitting and comfy and I sometimes wear it as a tee. It has the interlocking NY over the heart and the trademark Nike swoosh on the right side. Anyway, I decided to wear it to work on Tuesday under my Yankee hoodie. The Yankees won. When I woke up Wednesday, I said to myself, "What the heck. I'll wear it again." The Yankees won. Today, I'm rocking it again and we're going for win #3. Quite frankly, I'm hoping this shirt makes it through the weekend series in Beantown. It's not coming off, or getting washed, until they lose. My co-workers have already expressed their gratitude.
Am I the only weird one out there that does stuff like this? I'm interested to know if others have weird "practices" and what they are. Feel free to share.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Based on the number of comments left compared to the number of page views this site gets, it looks like many of you are readers and not commenters. And that's cool. Nobody has to join in if they don't want to. Commenting is of course encouraged.
According to various trackers, such as Google Analytics, the site gets many readers, both from the States and from abroad. I'm curious who everybody is and where they're from. So today, I'm taking attendance. If you would, you don't have to, please leave a comment with your name and where your from and anything else you'd care to add. I would sincerely appreciate it. Thanks in advance.
Woo hoo. Yankees win. Thuhhhhh Yankees win. Another nice win for the boys in Pinstripes.
You've got to give it up to Kei Igawa. He was sharp tonight. Two-thirds of his pitches went for strikes and many of them were first pitch strikes. Was it just me, or was he ahead of almost every batter? They showed a stat during the broadcast that Igawa had the 4th lowest percentage of first pitch strikes in baseball. He had to have climbed that ladder tonight as he threw first pitch strikes to 19 of the 25 batters he faced. I thought for sure as soon as they flashed that stat it was downhill from there but there would be no jinx tonight. Igawa was solid and he's now got that first MLB win under his belt. In his last 2 starts, Igawa has a WHIP of .97 and an ERA of 3.24. Not bad for a back of the rotation starter. I said it before the season started: Igawa will win more games than Daisuke Matzusaka this year. Take it to the bank. Congrats Kei.
A-Rod. Do I even need to expand on how awesome he's doing? Yeah, I think I do. His league leading 9th HR. His league leading 23rd RBI. An 18 game hit streak. An extra-base hit in 12 of the 13 games this year. And he's catching pop-ups. Dude is in the zone. My 3 fantasy teams thank you.
The Yankee lineup was awesome again tonight. The 3rd inning needs to serve as a blueprint for how to pummel opposing pitchers. Rack up base hit after base hit, keep the line moving, and plate 5 runs. The lesson here is that you don't always need the longball. Chicks might dig it, but you don't need it to be effective. This is a problem that always seems to plague the Yankees. They often seem to swing for the fences as opposed to going for that timely base hit. All the starters had at least 1 base hit tonight. That was nice to see. Going into the game, lefty bats were 1-for-15 against Jeremy Sowers. The Yankee lefties hit Sowers pretty well going 4-for-6. And our boy Giambi is heating up. He's 8 for his last 21. That game-winner in Oakland is starting to look like his turnaround point.
The Yankee pitching staff isn't messing around. I told you that the rotation wasn't as bad as people think. In the last 7 games, Yankee starters have posted an ERA of 1.89. Impressive, eh? The bullpen was on its game tonight, as expected. 3 innings, 2 walks, no runs. The bullpen's ERA has now dipped to 2.26. The Yanks now have a team ERA of 3.57. I've said it all season: the Yankees have one of the better pitching staffs in the American League. You mix that in with this offense (which after today I think is currently leading the AL in runs scored) and you've got something to worry about if you're the rest of the league. Step back from the ledges people. As previously stated, the Yanks are fine. Everything is A-O-Kei.
Rasner is up next. A 3 game sweep of the Tribe would be nice going into Fenway. If only the game weren't at 1:00. As much as I goof around at work, there's no TV. I'd listen to it on XM, but I've got meetings and conference calls set up from 2-4. I've got the game set up to DVR but watching it on "tape delay" isn't the same. We'll see how the day goes.
Peace, love and Pinstripes. (and congrats to Mark Buehrle on the no-no)
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Now that's what I'm talking about. Solid pitching. Solid defense. Solid production from the lineup. That's Yankee baseball.
You gotta give it up to Chase Wright. He struggled a little bit with the control early on, but maintained control, lasted 5 innings and picked up hist 1st major league win. Considering he was pitching against one of the better offense's in the league makes it even more impressive. Congratulations Chase. You're officially a Yankee. Wear those Pinstripes with pride. You earned it. Tonight, he's the King of New York.
How 'bout that second inning? The offense wasn't letting Jake Westbrook breathe. Doug Mientkiewicz, of all people, started it off by going yard. Somebody must have gone out looking for a "slumpbuster." For those not familiar with the art of the "slumpbuster," Google the term along with the name Mark Grace. You'll dig it. I swear. A-Rod continued his torrid April with another dinger and 3 RBI. Dude is in the zone! Paging Mr. Morneau. Mr. Justin Morneau. Alex Rodriguez would like his MVP back. Even though it's against the law of averages, if A-Rod can keep this up, this could be one of the single greatest seasons a player ever had offensively. Unreal. You also have to take note that Giambi chipped in with 2 hits. That average is slowly creeping up. If he gets it going, oh boy, AL pitchers are in trouble.
The bullpen: 4 perfect innings. 'Nuff said.
Tomorrow should be a toughie. I've seen Sowers pitch here in Buffalo and he's got good stuff. It should make for an interesting evening.
Peace, love and Pinstripes.
Mr. Westbrook. Meet Mr. Mientkiewicz, Mr. Rodriguez, and Mr. Posada. Now meet Mr. Showers.
It doesn't look like the nor'easter affected the power in the Bronx.
Congrats to Jorgie on #200!
That makes me laugh. It's hard to believe that 11 games into the season, some "Yankee fans," and I use that term very loosely, are making those statements.
"Fire Joe Torre!"
"The Yankees stink, they won't win, and can't pitch"
"Fire Brian Cashman!"
Those are just a sample of the entries being posted on Yankee fan message boards, both on MLB.com, and on the YES Network. And they're the main reason why I don't usually visit fan boards. It's usually some D-bag that knows nothing about the game or the team and is just there, basically, being a D-bag. It's much better here at MLBlogs, or on blogs period for that matter. You get real discussion, honest opinions, and very few, if any, people being d-bags. I'll take that any day of the week.
Monday, April 16, 2007
Holy wow. I did not expect to see that. The "that" that I'm referring to, as I'm sure you all know, is the 3-run walkoff by light-hitting Marco Scutaro off the best closer in the history of baseball. The ending of yesterday's game was a lot like an episode of "Lost." I sat there with a puzzled look on my face saying to myself "what the heck just happened?" It was unreal. I didn't see it coming. Never in a million years would I have imagined that game ending in that way. Stunned I was. Sorry, my inner Yoda sometimes rears it's head. You have to give the A's a little credit for that. Kendall's at-bat was the key to that dramatic victory. He worked that walk and you have to tip your hat to that. Mo made the mistake of leaving the pitch right over the plate and Scutaro jacked it off the fair pole. It sounded like the pitch was supposed to be high and inside. You know, the typical Mo pitch in on the hands that breaks the bat and usually ends up as a weak grounder? Mo missed his spot, and Scutaro made him pay. It's the next day and I still am shocked. But, it's nothing to worry about. It's 1 game. As nice as it would be to win them all, you're not going to. Don't forget the season is a marathon, not a sprint. No reason to start jumping off bridges. Now Mo has fallen victim before to some bad beats. The 2004 ALCS and 2001 World Series immediately come to mind. He's not going to pull a Brad Lidge and become an awful closer. The great closers have the ability to forget about a bad beat shortly after it's over. Mo has shown time and time again that he can deal with the occasional bad outing. He'll be fine.
It would have been nice to leave Oakland with a win and a 4-2 record on that roadie, but as they say, it is what it is. You can't be terribly upset with how the Yankees have played. The rotation, which now resembles a MASH unit, has been rock-solid over their last 6 starts. They've combined for a 1.36 ERA over that span. Compare that to the first 5 games when it was 9.97 and you've got quite a difference. Putting aside the injuries, any concerns about the rotation should be gone. Pettitte has been absolutely outstanding in his last 2 starts. 13 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, ERA 0.69. It was a shame he didn't get the win yesterday. He was outstanding. He gave the Yankees exactly what they needed by going 7 innings.
Even with Mo's blown save, the Yankees still have one of, if not the best bullpens in the American League. The pen has a collective ERA of 2.59, which is tops in the AL. They also lead the AL in BAA at .165, 37 percentage points ahead of the Red Sox, who currently rank 2nd. If you ask me, that's pretty darn good, especially when you take into account the blown save and the subpar performance of Kyle Farnsworth. The bullpen has been the biggest surprise for the Yankees to date. They've kept, and will continue to keep, the Yankees in pretty much every ball game. As soon as the offense heats back up, the Yanks will start rolling. The pitching staff as a whole is actually doing very well all things considered. They currently rank 4th in the AL in overall team ERA (3.72). Who would have predicted that after the first 5 games? The Yankee pitching staff is much better than people give it credit for. It's definitely not a 5-6 pitching staff. Blame the defense for that one. You could say that Jeter's error in the 1st yesterday, his 6th, cost the Yankees the game in the grand scheme of things. Pettitte likely pitches a shutout if he makes the play. but he didn't and that's how it goes. The defense needs to step up their game b/c they're definitely underperforming.
Anyone concerned about the Yankees 5-6 record needs to relax. The Yankees started 5-6 in 2006. They ended up with 97 wins and won the division. They started 4-7 (and were 11-19) in 2005. They ended up with 95 wins and won the division. They started 5-6 in 2004. They ended up with 101 wins and won the division. Anybody see a pattern here? The slow start is no reason to panic. As I mentioned earlier, the season is a marathon, not a sprint. You don't need to be quick out of the gate to win the race. Look at the Tigers from last year. They started hot, faded, and almost missed out on the postseason. The Yankees are a team built to win over the long haul. Staying healthy will be the biggest obstacle to the Yankees success. Cashman has re-stocked the farm so there are plenty of viable options within in the event of a long-term injury. Knock on wood.
Chase Wright is coming up from AA Trenton to start Tuesday's game against the Indians. We saw a little bit from Chase this spring and he had a pretty solid campaign. He's off to a blazing hot 2007. As a matter of fact, the whole Trenton pitching staff is on fire. As a staff, they've got a team ERA of 1.29 through their first 9 games. Wright has been lights out in his 2 starts. 14 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 19 K. Notice I didn't list any runs given up. Impressive. What's more impressive is the 19:1 K to BB ratio. He has his work cut out for him as the Indians have a pretty powerful offense. It should make for an interesting debut.
The first meeting with Boston is this weekend. As of right now, the pitching match-ups definitely favor the Sox. They'll likely have Schilling, Beckett and Matsuzaka going up against Pettitte, and most likely Jeff Karstens and then Chase Wright. With the current state of the Yankee rotation, the last 2 starts are up in the air, but all signs point to a Karstens return this weekend, and assuming Wright's audition against the Tribe goes well, he'll likely get that shot. the good news is that there is a strong possibility that the Yanks will have both Wang and Mussina available for the Yanks/Sox series in the Bronx. Last night on the Sox And Pinstripes radio show that the 2 teams would split the 6 games. The two always play each other tough. This year is going to be no exception. It's almost time to renew the rivalry.
Bring it on.
Editor's note- It took me almost 4 hours to write this. Why does work have to cut into play time?
Sunday, April 15, 2007
In case you missed my appearance with Jeff and Vince from Sox And Pinstripes on their radio show tonight, you can access a replay by clicking this link. The show runs for an hour and I joined about 10 minutes into the broadcast and stayed on for the duration. It was a good time with lots of good Yankee and Red Sox discussion. I'd be interested to know what you guys think of the appearance.
I'll be back tomorrow with my thoughts on today's late-inning loss. It wasn't pretty, but it'll soon be forgotten. Like a good closer, you just have to put the bad ones behind you.
Peace, love and Pinstripes.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Good Lord these games are ending on late. Thank God this is a weekend series. I didn't think this one was going to end but then the slumping Giambi stepped into the box and drove it over the wall in right-center. Booyah. Yanks up 1 and then Bruney took care of business in the bottom half of the 13th to finish it off. Game over. Yanks win. Thuhhh Yankees win!
This shoddy defense has got to stop. It cost the Yankees last night's game and it nearly cost them tonight's. The defense is so much better than they're playing. Abreu is dropping fly balls. Phelps can't dig out a throw in the dirt. Jeter can't field balls cleanly and can't get his throws up. Horrendous. The Yanks lead the AL in team errors. They're better than that. 4 Gold Glove winners. A second baseman who is going to win a few himself. It's beyond ridiculous how bad the D is. And I don't care what the official scorer says, Jeter's throwing error is on all on Josh Phelps. He's got to scoop that out.
I don't know who is worse, Phelps or Mientkiewicz. One can't play defense, the other can't hit. Phelps hasn't exactly been tearing things up but he's getting on base, sort of. His OBP was .400 coming into today's game. I really have no preference to either one. I keep thinking Dougie will eventually hit the ball and Phelps will eventually field them. I guess I'd prefer Dougie as the D seems better when he's in the game.
The pitching staff gets a huge kudos tonight. They get my game ball. Yes Kyle, even you, as you sacked up and got the job done. Happy Birthday. 7 pitchers shut down the A's for 12 innings. Color me extremely impressed. You can't even really knock the staff for the 3 runs the A's scored. The 2nd turn through the rotation is complete and I hope everyone now sees there isn't anything to worry about. The first time through, the starters were 0-2 with a 9.97 ERA. The second trip through the rotation, 2-0 with an ERA of 1.38. You can't mess with those numbers. The rotation is much better than people give them credit for. The entire pitching staff is going to win the Yanks some ball games, assuming of course the D doesn't tank. Sure they'll be the occasional game where the staff will be off their game, but more often than not, they're going to show up. 7 relievers today scattered 2 hits over 7 and two-thirds. How can you not love the bullpen? The bullpen has a combined ERA of 2.11 after today's outing. And if my math is right, the team ERA is now 3.73. Considering the starter's ERA through the first turn through the rotation, that's impressive. I'm giving the bullpen it's very own theme music. "Shut 'Em Down" by Public Enemy. Now that's what I'm sayin', boyeeee. Flavor Flav is in the house.
Is the offense slumping? 9 runs total in their last 3 games. They seem to be getting the hits. They're just not stringing them together and getting the runners across home plate. Thankfully, the pitching has been there.
Torre said on the post-game show that if the game went to the 14th that Miguel Cairo was the likely pitcher. Oh boy. It's a good thing Giambi pulled his head out of his rump and went yard.
Peace, love and Pinstripes.
Tomorrow night (Sunday) I'll be appearing as a guest on the debut of Sox And Pinstripes Radio on Blog Talk Radio. I think you need to click on "programming guide" and then look for it. The scheduled air time is at 7:30pm EST, and I'll probably join the broadcast around 7:40. It should be interesting. It'll be my first radio appearance ever and I'm a wee bit nervous as I'm much better at putting the thoughts onto "paper" than I am doing it verbally. But when it comes to talking Yankees, I think I'll be alright.
For more info click here. I hope you tune in.
Geoff at Bleeding Pinstripes opened his latest post with a question: "Are there any other losers out there who sat there until 2 o’clock in the morning watching the Yankees lose a waste of a game tonight?" I'll admit it. I'm a loser. What's worse is I even stayed up for the post game show. So my night ended around 3am. Ugh.
Even though the Yankees lost, there is some good to take from the game. Igawa came through and showed us that he does belong in the rotation. He was in command for most of the evening. His only real slip was leaving that ball up in the zone for Chavez to crush. Had Abreu not dropped that fly ball, my man would have been tossing a 1-hit shut out going into the 6th. It was a far better outing than when he made his regular season debut in Pinstripes. He was getting his off speed stuff over for strikes and that's largely what his success is going to depend on. After 5 so-so outings from the Yankee rotation, we've now had 4 good ones. As I mentioned before, the ability of the rotation shouldn't be of concern. It's their health and well-being we should worry about. Wang and Karstens opened up the season on the DL. Moose tweaked a hammy and is going to miss a turn. Rasner has/had blisters. And now we come to find that Pavano has a sore elbow and will be pushed back a few days. At this point, I'm not concerned that much. Wang and Karstens will be back soon. Pavano's injury doesn't sound too serious. And Moose is a warrior. He's made at least 27 starts in each of the last 12 seasons. I'm not worried, but I'm knocking on wood.
The only other positive takeaways from last night's game were the performances of Vizcaino and Bruney. Bruney may have taken the L, but he was on his game. He made a great pitch to Buck who in turn had a great swing to knock it for a triple. Even the way the A's scored the winner wasn't bad. A soft ground ball that was fielded in plenty of time to get the runner at home. If only Dougie knew that Robbie was behind him. And as far as I'm concerned Vizcaino should be Mo's official setup man. Dude's been on his game.
Now the negatives. And there are plenty to go around. We'll start with Farnsie. ***? Torre has to realize that he can't be trusted to hold a lead. You know what, I don't even want to talk about KF right now. it's starting to turn my stomach.
Dougie, Dougie, Dougie. He may be real slick with the glove, but he's got to give us some production at the plate. It wasn't bad enough that he went 0-fer 5. He was up in some pretty big spots and he failed miserably. 6th inning, bases loaded, no outs, double play. 8th inning, bases loaded, 1 out, weak pop up to the pitcher, force at home. Can you even call that a weak pop up? I don't even think there's a name for that. 10th inning, go-ahead runner on 2nd, 2 outs, fouled out to Chavez. It wasn't your night dude. He has got to give the Yankees something from his spot in the lineup. He's yet to hit the ball since spring training. It's not going to fly. Going back to his foul out to Chavez. In any other park, that ball is likely in the stands. The foul territory in Oakland is a huge home-field advantage. No wonder Zito, Mulder and Hudson flourished there and aren't leaving up to their numbers with their new teams. Interesting.
Negative #3, and I have to piggy back off Geoff at the BPS on this one because I'm in total agreement. Why pinch-run for Giambi? It makes no sense. Torre's does this with Giambi more often than he should and I've rarely seen it work. Bad move. Click on the link for Geoff's take on it. It's spot on.
Today is a new day. Time to look ahead and forget about yesterday. The worst thing that can happen tonight would be the return of Rasner's blisters. Besides not being able to finish off his pitches effectively, it could result in an early exit and that could totally drain the bullpen, and that wouldn't be good. Especially, when right now, Farnsworth is off his game. Farnsworth. Ugh. I'm going to be sick.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Thank God it's Friday. The work week is winding down and nothing makes me happier. I felt like utter dookie last night. All day at work I had this throbbing headache that settled in my right eye. I get them every now on then, but this one put me on my keester. I hit the wrapper last night at 9pm and didn't wake up 'til almost 7 this morning. I didn't eat dinner. I just flopped out on the couch and zoned in and out for a few hours and then finally crawled into bed. It was the perfect night for an off day because I definitely wouldn't have made it for a west coast game. I'm feeling much better and I'm looking forward to watching the Yanks kick some tail tonight in Oakland.
I'm most interested in seeing how Igawa bounces back from hist less than stellar first start. I didn't think he pitched poorly the first time around. He definitely wasn't as bad as his line indicated. He had a few ball fours that could have been strike threes, and I still can't knock him for Melvin Mora's 3-run double that dropped in between Cano, Mientkiewicz and Abreu. Kei needs to be effective with the off-speed stuff. I don't remember the exact stat but I want to say he only got like 3 of 28 off-speed pitches over for strikes against the O's. He's definitely not going to last long if he has to live on the fastball. If he can get the curve over, like he did in spring training, he'll fare much, much better.
Dan Haren is on the hill for the A's tonight and he always seems to give the Yankee bats fits. It's weird that Haren is 0-2 this year with a 0.69 ERA. He's getting no run support from his lineup and when you face the Yankees, you need all the run support you can get. Right now the A's are getting great pitching with sub-par offensive production. The Yanks are getting great offensive production with average pitching. It should be a good series.
Good news today was Wang and Karstens appear to be close to returning. Both are slated for returns in a few weeks. It'll be good to get the band back together in its intended lineup. Knock on wood.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
It looked for a while that the Yankees had a shot at sweeping the Twins. Moose feels a pull in the hammy and takes himself out of the game (smart move). Ortiz stifles the offense. And then there's Kyle Farnsworth. Ugh. What a pathetic performance. Dude didn't even looked like he cared he was getting knocked around. It's painfully obvious that if Farnsworth doesn't have his velocity up, he's not going to be effective. His arm strength isn't fully there yet, which is the main reason why he was so ineffective. Get out there and do some long toss bro. And the last thing any pitcher wants to do is walk the leadoff batter, especially when said leadoff batter is a speed demon like Luis Castillo. The whole world knew Castillo was running on the first pitch. Where was the pitch out? You'd think after Rivera walked Kevin Millar in the '04 ALCS and watched Dave Roberts swipe second, that a lesson would have been learned. The last thing you want to do is walk a leadoff batter when the game is close and then have speed on the basepaths. They always seem to come around to score. Thankfully, the Yanks won games 1 and 2 of the series so they leave Minnesota with a series win. If you can consistently win series, you're playoff bound.
A-Rod didn't go yard, but he still put the Yanks in position to win. He could have folded in the 9th but kept things going with his automatic double. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, A-Rod was the 4th player in the last 50 years to have an extra-base hit in hist 1st 7 games. His 9th inning double ran that streak to 8 and if my research is correct, he's now the only player in the last 50 years to have an extra-base hit in his 1st 8 games, leaving Phil Nevin, Ken Griffey, Jr., and Larry Walker in his wake. A-Rod is off to a monster start. He's having one of the best April's of his career. Maybe it's the odd numbered years he really excels in. He was the AL MVP in 2003 and in 2005. 2007 is off to a similar start. Another MVP for A-Rod, maybe? He's definitely playing like one. He's by far the Yankees MVP so far.
How impressive was the defense this series? Wow. Last night was much like the first 2 games in the Metrodome. Jeter going back to get the pop fly in shallow left-center. Cano's leaping grab. Dougie's diving stop. This is the type of defense I was expecting. Mientkiewicz is one of the best defensive first-basemen in the game. Cano is on the verge of winning numerous Gold Gloves. Jeter is a 3-time Gold Glove winner. And A-Rod may have had a bad year at the hot corner last year, but he showed in 2004 and again in 2005 that he can handle third base. The defense is perfect for ground ball pitchers like Pettitte and Wang. And I know the Yankee rotation has a lot of questions, but they've stepped up over the last 3 starts. If you were doubting the rotation's ability, you have to be encouraged by Pavano, Pettitte, and even with Mussina's abbreviated outing. I still think the Yankees have one of the better rotations. Pitching and defense wins championships. I think the Yankees have both pieces of that puzzle.
They just need to stay healthy.
Peace, love and Pinstripes.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
There's no better word to describe what the Yankees did to the Twins last night. The Twinkies got absolutely manhandled. Yankees roll 10-1.
It was good to see Andy Pettitte bounce back from a so-so first start. It's looking like the weather had a definite impact on things. You could tell yesterday that he and Jorge were more in sync. Jorgie still had the white-out manicure so I'm inclined to think the issues from his first start were possibly related to seeing the signs. I wouldn't say AP ever got into trouble, but if he needed the outs. He got 'em. In the 2nd inning, Cuddyer reached 3rd with 1 down. Pettitte followed up by whiffing Torri Hunter and Josh Rabe. In the 4th, the Twins leadoff the inning with back-to-back singles. Pettitte induces the DP and the Twins don't score. You have to love ground ball pitchers. Only 2 of Pettitte's 18 outs came on fly balls. With a solid defense behind him, he's going to continue to have outings like that. His struggles in his first outing were in large part to the shoddy defense. We all know the Yankee D is better than they played that night. The rotation is returning to form, as I expected. You couldn't really put much stock in the first 5 games. I'm too lazy to retype why, so just click here if interested.
Another A-Bomb from A-Rod. Dude is on fire. Many predicted he'd have a monster year as it's almost like it's a walk year for him. He's not disappointing. 6 HRs in his first 7 games. That's a Yankee record. If he had hit a 2nd HR yesterday he would have tied the MLB record held by Mike Schmidt. I have something I want to say, but for fear of jinxing Alex, I'll hold my comments. The Yankee lineup now features 6 regulars hitting above .300, the lowest being Cano at .312 and the highest being Johnny Damon at .429. Damon appears to be fully recovered from the calf cramps. 1000 runs, here we come.
The bullpen again looked sharp. Proctor is really the only who has struggled. He almost escaped his inning unscathed, but when you walk the first 2 batters of the inning, you're in trouble. Vizcaino again looked sharp and Mo, well, he's just Mo. 3 up, 3 down.
Tonight's the big matchup between Dice-K and King Felix. This game has Dice-K written all over it. The Mariners are the worst hitting team in the league, batting a ******** .167 as a team. How they are 2-2 is beyond me? Even Ichiro is striking out 3 times a game. Unheard of. This game is tailor-made for Matsuzaka. Combine the M's weak offense with the fact they they've never seen Dice-K before, and you've got the potential for a no-no. Nobody should be surprised if Matsuzaka turns in a dominant performance. It's a no-brainer.
Moose gets the ball tonight. It's his turn to one-up his predecessors. It'll be hard to top Pettitte, but Moose is more than capable.
Peace, love and Pinstripes.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
After 6 games:
- David Ortiz: .217 (5-23), 2 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 BB, 6 K, .333 OBP, .565 SLG
- A-Rod: .360 (9-25), 3 2B, 5 HR, 13 RBI, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 SB, .448 OBP, 1.080 SLG
This reminds me of the McDLT. One side's hot. The other is cool. Like McDonald's, bah-da-bah-bah-bah, I'm loving it.
Finally, a Yankee starter racks up a quality start. Who would have guessed it would be done by Carl Pavano? Not me, but I'm glad he did. I thought that the second go around through the rotation would fare much better than the first, and so far we're off to a good start. Maybe the weather did play more of a factor than we thought? Pavs stepped up his game, going 7 strong. This is the type of outing that the Yankee rotation needed to get the ball rolling. They need to try to 1-up each other and play "anything you can do, I can do better." If the Yankee rotation can give up 4 runs or less, even 5, then the Yankees are going to roll over teams with their offense. You can afford to give up 5 runs a game if you can score 6+. Right now the Yanks are averaging 6.8 runs per game, while giving up 5.5. You can have the greatest rotation in the world and still lose most of your games if you can't score. Take the Red Sox. They've been outscored through their first 6 games, 19-21. What good is having a staff that gives up only 3.5 runs per game if you can only score 3.2? More often than not, you'll lose. The Yankee rotation and the Red Sox lineup are both playing below their potential. If you think that either will continue to do so, you're crazy.
The Yankee D looked sharper than cheddar yesterday. There were a few plays I thought might go for a hit, but the boys got to the ball, fielded it cleanly, and Dougie M took care of the rest. Smooth and sharp, like I expected.
This offense is sick. The Yankee O is currently on pace to score 1100 runs. 1100 runs! A-Rod is in the zone. 3 straight games with a dinger. That should be enough to silence his critics. And half the lineup hasn't even found their groove yet. Once the Yankee O is running on all cylinders, watch out.
The bullpen pitched another 2 scoreless innings. Gotta love it. There numbers as a unit are pretty impressive: 24.1 IP, 11 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 10 BB, 17 K, 1.11 ERA, 0.86 WHIP. Out-freakin-standing. If the pen keeps it up, which I think they can, the Yankees are going to be in every ball game.
Am I the only one who thinks that the team looks loose, like they're having a lot of fun? I like it.
Pettitte's on the bump tonight and he'll be pitching in much better conditions than in his debut. God bless domed stadiums, even if it is the Metrodome. No offense Minnesota.
After 2 starts:
- Curt Schilling 1-1, 11 IP, 12 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 11 K, 1 HR, 4.91 ERA
- Carl Pavano: 1-0, 11.1 IP, 12 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 4.76 ERA
Right now Curt Schilling is no better than Carl Pavano. That's got to sting a little RSN. Ouch.
Peace, love and Pinstripes.
Monday, April 9, 2007
The next generation of Yankee bloggers is on the way. Yours truly is going to be a dad. In a few short months (mid-August), the wife will be giving birth to a bouncing baby boy, who will henceforth be known as "The Boogie Down Baby." Look for his very own MLBlog in the coming years.
I wrote a while back that I wanted to somehow incorporate some Yankee lore into the baby's name, with the name "Mattingly" as my top choice. Originally, the wife was sold on the name, but has since changed her mind. We are keeping it baseball related, as we're going with the name Cooper, as in Cooperstown. These were my choices for middle names, all got vetoed: Cooper Stown, Cooper Ific, Cooper Fect, Cooper Nicus. Can you believe the wife didn't like the name Cooper Stown? The nerve. As I was cycling through the mental rolodex of Yankee greats, none seem to fit. As I was driving home, I thought of the name Clemens. That made me think of Nolan Ryan. And from that, we chose the middle name Ryan.
I've already bought plenty of Yankee gear for him. I can't wait to plop down on the couch with him and watch games. I'm very excited!
7 strong innings from the starter. 8 runs from the offense. Flawless defense. That's what I'm talking about. Now that's Yankee baseball.
Sunday, April 8, 2007
Back from Syracuse. Went to see the fam for the holiday. We made our annual trip to the same old same old Easter day buffet my Aunt and Uncle enjoy taking us all too. I stuffed my face with ham, roast beef, turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing. It was about 2 o'clock on the Swatch watch when we left. I flipped my mom's radio to the Yankee game and lo and behold, 2 seconds into the broadcast I hear Sterling calling Paul Bako's 3-run HR off Rasner. Here we go again.
These Yankee games have been pretty much following the same formula. The starters fail to get out of the 5th, the bullpen does it's thing, and the offense has to bail the team out. I thought we might have a repeat of yesterday when the Bombers juiced the bases in the 8th, but the runs didn't materialize. Close, but no cigar.
After the post-game show I flipped my XM over to MLB Home Plate 175 for the rest of the ride. The host of the program, Mark Gray, made a comment that Yankee fans have to be worried about the performance of their starting rotation. Now it's no secret that the rotation has failed to deliver, but I don't see anything to worry about at this point. Looking back at the week that was, we had Pavano who pitched decently and likely would have lasted a little longer had the Yankee defense shown up. Errors change the course of a game and can over change a pitcher's fortune. Pettitte was pitching in the blistering cold and while he wasn't masterful, he left with a lead and was also the victim of some shoddy defense. Mussina just didn't have it. But he was arguably the 3rd best pitcher in the AL last year and there's no chance that he continues to flounder. Igawa pitched much better than his final line indicated. His off-speed pitches weren't working, but he was victim of a few ball fours that could have been strike threes and Mora's bloop double that scored 3 didn't exactly help him out much. That was a bad break. Had the Yankees gotten Mora out at second, the O's only score 2 and the inning ends. Perhaps his fortunes change. And then there's Rasner. Admittedly I didn't hear or see much of his outing. On the post-game show they mentioned that he was pitching with an open blister on his index finger, which was preventing him from finishing off his pitches. All things considered, I don't think the Yankee rotation, as a whole, pitched poorly. It's the first 5 games of the season. Factor in the cold weather and the canceled game, and you've got some pitchers who are already starting behind the 8-ball. There's no reason for concern.
The Yankees are now off to a domed stadium in Minnesota, and then to a warm weather climate in Oakland. This road trip is going to tell us a lot about the make up of the current Yankee rotation. There will be no adverse weather. I fully expect to see some quality starts from the guys this week. If not, Cashman better get on the phone with the Hendricks brothers and offer the whole farm to the Rocket.
The Yankee offense has been outstanding. And considering that they've yet to play a complete game with their entire lineup, it's even more impressive. It looks like Damon will be back in CF tomorrow. Unfortunately for the Yanks, Matsui is going on the DL. The cold weather hasn't been too kind to the hamstrings. Minnesota, her we come.
Peace, love and Pinstripes.
Due to the excitement surrounding A-Rod's walkoff grand slam, I lost sight of a criticism of Joe Torre I wanted to mention.
I totally thought Torre mismanaged his bench in the 8th inning. Dannys Baez had just walked 2 consecutive batters and then gave up Giambi's 3-run shot to cut the O's lead to 1. There was 1 out and Miguel Cairo was coming up. Now it sounded on the radio like Cairo was never supposed to step into the batter's box. Either way, I think bringing Damon in to pinch hit was the wrong move. Baez was obviously having control problems and the O's were leaving him in. He even threw ball one to Cairo. Torre pulls Cairo for Damon and the O's move to lefty specialist Jamie Walker, and he promptly gets Damon out. The right move in my opinion was to let Cairo hit, and save Damon so he could hit in Mientkiewicz's spot. Granted Dougie has been hitting the ball well and hit had a nice liner of Chris Ray, but considering Baez's control issues and with there only being one out, I would let Cairo hit, and worst case, you have Damon leading off the 9th off righty Chris Ray. Just my opinion. To me it made more sense considering the situation. In the end, it all worked out, so it doesn't really matter.
Saturday, April 7, 2007
Oh baby. What a finish! The Yankee bullpen did it's job keeping the O's off the bases, allowing the Yankees to slug their way to a dramatic come from behind victory.
I listened to the last half of the game while driving across the New York State Thruway from Buffalo to Syracuse. It made for one exciting ride. When Giambi hit his 3-run shot I started honking the horn in celebration while swerving back and forth across the highway. At the start of the last half of the 9th, I told the wife after Cano singled that I could just see A-Rod stepping up to the plate with a chance to win it, and sure enough, BOOM, he did it in grand slam fashion. Granted, I told the wife he I was afraid he was going to K and it would basically end his career in Pinstripes. When he had 2 strikes on him, I'll admit, I was scared he'd pull a Carlos Beltran and K looking to lose the game. After all, we've seen that so many times from Alex. And then it happened. I was sitting behind a line of cars waiting to pay my toll when John Sterling breaks into "It's a high drive to deep center field. It is high, it is far, it's over Patterson's head. IT'S GONE! Into the black. Yankees win. Thuuuuuuh Yankees Win." Maybe not in those exact words but pretty close. My adrenaline level jumped up and I started high-fiving the wife. I could see the guy in front of me do a fist pump and high five his traveling companion. Yankee baseball. I live for it!
As I mentioned in my previous post, the Yankees bullpen needs to be lights out if they want to stay in the game if the starters are ineffective. Unlike yesterday, the offense picked up Igawa, who I didn't think pitched poorly. I thought he got squeezed a few times that would have gotten him out of a mess or two. And Mora's bloop 3-run double was a bad break. Igawa definitely pitched better than his line will read in the box score. But back to the pen. 4 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 5 K. If the game is close when it goes to the pens, I think the Yankees are going to win most of the time. This Yankee bullpen is reminiscent of the last 90s Yankees bullpen when Moe was setting up for John Wetteland. I can see why people project this team is going to win 100+. The lineup is awesome. The bullpen is awesome. The rotation is ineffective right now, but there is no chance that they continue to pitch like they are. Once the rotation starts heating up, the Yankees are going to roll.
A-Rod is going to have a monster year.
Peace, love, and Pinstripes.