Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Bats Fall Flat, Yanks Lose To Tigers 6-2

I've said this many many times. I hate Michael Kay. Dude does not know when to keep his trap shut. I've blogged a few times in the past how he'll say things that always seem to jinx the Yankees. A-hole did it again tonight. Th Yanks were up 2-1 and Kay comments that Andy Pettitte lost his first start of the year at the Stadium and never in his career has he lost the first 2 starts of the year at the Stadium. Shortly thereafter Pettitte starts giving up longballs. Coincidence? I think not.

Andy started out great but his outing quickly turned south as the game wore on. I don't know if he's getting tired early or what, but his outing ended up a lot like his last start when he seemed to run out of gas midway though the game. I was really encouraged watching him early on. The Yankees need Andy to be that guy that consistently give them 6-7 innings. He's pretty good about that. He went 6 tonight which helped the bullpen a little bit after Hughes' short outing yesterday. Again, I don't think he pitched poorly, but it wasn't enough. Even had he held the Tigers to 3 runs it wouldn't have been enough with the offensive struggles. It's got to be tough to these guys to take the hill and know they have to keep the other team to 3 runs or less. the offense needs to kick it into gear.

The offense was again horrible tonight. The 1st inning was promising. It looked like they had a shot at chasing Bonderman early. They managed 2 runs on 3 hits in the first. That unfortunately would pretty much be it. The Yankees racked up a whopping 2 hits the rest of the way. Horrible. I have a feeling these struggles will continue with Jorge and A-Rod on the DL. You can't make up for that loss in production. The Yankees scored 968 runs last year and Jorge and Alex knocked in 25% of those runs. That's a lot to lose. But injuries are part of the game and right now the injury bug is going around.

The Yankees announced tonight that Phil Hughes was placed on the DL with an oblique strain. I'm not sure I buy that. I think the Yanks wanted to give him some time to work things out and this was the path they chose. It allows Phil time to "rehab" and work out the kinks. Injured or not, it's probably not a bad thing to give him 2 weeks off. He needs to get his act together. How come no one is talking about Dave Eiland when the subject of Hughes and Kennedy come up. Eiland was made the pitching coach largely because of the work he's done with these youngsters in the past. You'd think he'd be able to diagnose any issues and correct any problems. I'm surprised that Eiland along with Moose and Pettitte can't get through to these guys. They're killing them right now. Things need to change, and it looks like the team is getting the ball rolling with that.

When I was driving home from work I was listening to "The Show w/Kevin Kennedy and Rob Dibble" on XM. A severely disgruntled Yankees fan called up complaining about how bad Hughes is and how the Yankees should have dealt both he and Kennedy for Johan Santana. What a bozo. I understand the "win now" mentality but the Yankees decided to go with a period of adjustment this year. We knew this was coming. It was inevitable. Cashman has said many times that one of his objectives is to get the payroll in check. Trading 2 young-uns who are making bupkiss for the highest paid pitcher in the game isn't going to accomplish that. The Yankees put what they thought would be a winner on the field. Before the season started plenty of people out there thought it was a winner. I still do. Based on the scouting reports on Hughes and Kennedy and their performances last year I think they were wise to roll the dice with them. Right now it's not working out, and who knows maybe it never will, but the stuff is there and they're 21 and 23 respectively. They're not even near their prime. The problem is that they're not ready for the big leagues. I think the Yankees were wise to hold onto them because they will be the future of the starting rotation. What the Yankees should have done was picked up some insurance policies in the form of some proven veteran pitchers in case things didn't work out. Right now, their options to replace them are pretty weak. The ball would likely go to Kei Igawa or Darrell Rasner. Sorry, but I'd almost rather go with Phil and Ian.

The other thing that annoyed me on the call was Dibble and Kennedy referring to Chien-Ming Wang as not a "true number 1." Come on now. Kennedy's argument was that Wang only lives off his sinker and if it's not working, he gets hammered. Last time I checked Wang was mixing his pitches mroe and more and I think he has at least 4 quality pitches in his arsenal--sinker, splitter, 4 seam fastball, slider and maybe even a change? They ran down a list of who they felt werre real #1s and if memory serves it was Johan, Beckett, Peavy, Sabathia, and Brandon Webb to name a few. Now I don't know much about Brandon Webb but doesn't he primarily live of his sinker? Didn't he throw a 1-hitter a few years ago where 755 of the pitches he threw were sinkers? I thought I heard that somewhere. when Kennedy mentioned Beckett he talked about a 97 mph heater and a great curve. I think Wang's fastball is normally around 94 (I think). Not much of a difference to me. And why does a guy have to have a curveball to be a #1? Wang's sinker is just as effective. It's not all about power and strikeouts. Wang is a true #1, plain and simple. If he pitched well last October, we wouldn't have this discussion. Give the guy some credit.

Thank God this game ended rather early. I did 17 miles today on the treadmill. I'm beat and I needs me some sleep. April is finally over and I really hope May is more kind to the Yankees.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Weighing In On Tonight's Yankees Loss

I've got to make this short and sweet because I am absolutely exhausted. 6am comes early and I ran a total of 15.5 miles today in an attempt to win a weight loss contest, a la "The Biggest Loser." It's a 12-week contest that ends Monday and I'm currently in 2nd place about 3 pounds behind the leader. By my estimate I have to drop 7-8 lbs. this week to have a shot. I'm busting my hump to get there. When the contest started I tipped the scales at an even 200. I'm about 5'11 and I was by no means big but had some weight to lose. I was already planning to try and get in better shape once Spring Training started so the timing was perfect. As of now I weigh about 160 and figure I need to get to 154 to win. I'm busting my tail running before work, at lunch, and after work in an attempt to get there. I admittedly am now skinnier than I want to be, but I've come so far and there are only 5 days left so why not go for it. Gotta leave it all on the table.

Tonight's game was blah. Phil Hughes again struggled. He has yet to put together a great outing. I was amazed when they flashed the stat that he leads the league in the lowest average innings pitched of all starters with 3.2. He went 3.2 tonight so at least he's consistent if nothing else. But right from the get go you could tell it wasn't going to be his night. When he walked Curtis Granderson to leadoff the game I cringed. Granderson is not the guy you want to walk. Hughes didn't get any help from Johnny Damon either on Magglio's bloop single. Damon has to have the worst arm in the league and the Tigers wisely exploited it. I'm not sure what the issue is with Hughes this year. He's not the pitcher we saw last year. I can see glimpses of him but then the bottom drops out and he's out of the game before it even started. I know he's young. I know there will be growing pains. But you have to wonder if he needs a little more time spent in the minors. If only the Yankees had another arm to call on. If he and Ian Kennedy continue to struggle, I wouldn't be surprised if something happens on the trade front. those 2 are killing the bullpen Speaking of the bullpen.....

Another great outing by the pen tonight. That's really the only bright spot. Over the last 2 games, the bullpen has thrown 9.1 innings, allowing 0 runs on 4 hits with 1 BB and 10 K. That's pretty darn good. Ross Ohlendorf was awesome tonight. He came in and stopped the bleeding which allowed the Yankees to keep it close, even though they fell short of coming back to tie the game. Speaking of the offense.....

The offense was horrendous tonight. Their inability to hit with runners in scoring position is mind boggling. Even without A-Rod and Jorge, this lineup is too good to strand 13 guys on base. they left 2 on in the 1st. They left the bases loaded in the 3rd and the 8th. They had their chances and failed again, as they've done way too often this year. One of these days they'll put it together.

So much for short and sweet.


Monday, April 28, 2008

Homeward Bound, Yanks (Finally) Head Home With 5-2 Win

I was going to go see the Scranton Yankees take on the hometown Buffalo Bisons tonight but it was raining and about 40 degrees outside. And the stadium is downtown which is about 10 degrees colder there because of the lake. So I opted to skip the game and watch the big club work for a series split. Had Shelley Duncan still been with Scranton, I'd have been there. You have to love Shelley. I was bummed, yet happy, when he got called back.

I thought Mike Mussina pitched OK. Not good, not great, but a pretty solid outing. He kept the Yanks in the ballgame and that's what he needed to do. The offense gave him no kind of support which shouldn't surprise anyone. I really think Moose is going to be an integral part of the Yankees rotation this year. As long as he can keep a 20 mph difference between his fastball and change, he'll be fine. He totally had Dellucci fooled with that change. Good stuff. He really only had 1 bad inning. It looked to me like the Tribe were just starting to figure Moose out. It was probably a good thing that his pitch count was up there. It gave Girardi a good reason to take him out. I'm glad the offense picked up some runs for him to put him in line for the win. Congrats on career win #253. Keep climbing that ladder.

The Yankee "rally" in the 6th was on for the ages. Infield single, infield single, single to LF, HBP, ground out to 1st, ground out to 1st, infield single to the pitcher, ground out to the pitcher. It's hard to believe in all that they picked up 4 runs. Not exactly knocking the cover off the ball are they? But whatever gets the job done. If you can't get timely hits, you might as well get timely outs. Surprisingly, there were no double plays. Not surprising, there were no hits with RISP. I know Ensberg's single to the pitcher was a hit w/RISP, but come on? That could be the weakest hit with runners in scoring position ever.

I was petty nervous when the Yankees had to go to the bullpen. With a 2-run lead the last guy I want to see out there is Kyle Farnsworth. I still can't get by all of his recent mishaps. And by recent, I mean going back to when he joined the Yankees. He's way too inconsistent for my liking. Much to my shock, and delight, he pitched a 1-2-3 7th inning, sending the Tribe's 2-3-4 hitters down in order. Keep pitching that way K-Farns and you'll be back in my good graces. Kyle's great outing withstanding, I was very happy to see Joba warming up. And Joba did what Joba does. Well what he does most of the time. 1-2-3, down you go. Mariano is automatic right now. Greatest. Closer. Ever. The bullpen was great tonight. 4 innings of shutout ball. Definitely one of their finer performances.

Robbie Cano had an absolutely dreadful road trip at the plate. I think I heard Kay say he was 4-32 on the roadie. This offense really needs Robbie to start heating up. Hopefully a little home-cooking does him some good.

If anyone in Cleveland reads this, preferably a youngster between the ages of 10-15, please do
me a favor and if you see that kid that spent the whole game dancing in those "dugout seats" or whatever they are, punch him right in the nose. Watching that kid dance inning after inning was one of the most annoying things I've ever seen. It was 100 times worse than your typical d-bag waving to the people at home while talking on their cell phone. If you ever catch me doing that, you can kick me in my giblets.

Thank God this road trip is over. That was one long stretch away from the Stadium. 18 road games in 21 days. Not fun. I'm sure the boys will be extremely happy to get back to the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium. It certainly won't hurt that they're on a 2 game winning streak. A 14-13 record is pretty darn good all things considered. They ended up going 9-9 on that roadie and they didn't really play that well. The short outings from the SPs. The taxed bullpen. The injuries. The lack of timely hitting. Yeah, I'm pretty happy with where they are right now. Things could be a lot worse.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Chien-Ming Wang = God, Yanks Win 1-0

When I was at the birthday party yesterday I had a conversation with a Red Sox fan about the two teams and the game in general. I had brought up the point that the 2 teams had pretty similar pitching staffs. Inexperienced youngsters (Hughes, Kennedy, Buchholz, Lester), aging vets (Wakefield, Mussina), great #2 starters in Dice-K and Pettittea, and perennial Cy Young award winners in Beckett and Chien-Ming Wang. Pretty fair assessment I'd say. He agreed for the most part but said that Wang was not an ace. Come on now. He's an ace if there ever was one. And with today's performance, I think we can officially put to rest any talk that Chien-Ming Wang is not a certified ace.

Wang's performance today was awesome. 7 innings, 4 hits, 2 walk, no runs, and 9 Ks. Yes you read that right. 9 Ks! The "soft-tosser" whiffed 9 and even struck out the side. He continued to mix his pitches very well. Early in his career there was talk that hitters would eventually figure him out and he'd start to tail off. He's got a wide array of pitches in his repertoire and he's keeping opposing hitters off balance. He used to live on his sinker but now he can get you out with a slider, a splitter, his fastball. You name, he can throw it and he can throw it well. He gave the Yankees exactly what they needed. He threw a lot of pitches through the first 2 innings but was able to battle through it. the bullpen basically got the day off. Chamberlain hadn't pitched in 2 days. Mariano hadn't pitched in 3 days. No tired arms there. Wang moves now to a perfect 5-0 and should be considered one of the early front-runners for the Cy Young. I know it's early, but he's that good.

Joba and Mo were perfect, as expected. If the Yankees can get though 7 with the lead, you can basically out it on the board, assuming of course the ball goes to Joba then Mo. Mo has done a total 180 from his start last season. Still perfect. Still Mo. Congrats to Mo on career save #450.

I love watching pitching duels, more so than I do blowouts. They're much more exciting to watch. Every pitch could be a game changer and you're almost on the edge of your seat hoping that your guys can keep it up. C.C. Sabathia pitched a great game today. He's seemed to bounce back from his horrible start. He'll look pretty good in Pinstripes next year.

The offense doesn't even deserve mention today. What else is new? It all came on 1 swing of the bat. The Melk-man goes yard with his team-leading 5th HR. Who would've thought 26 games into the season Melky Cabrera would be team's best power hitter? Sabathia definitely deserves a lot of credit for keeping the Yankees hitters down. But CC's performance withstanding, the Yankees offense is still struggling. The worst part today was watching A-Rod and Shelley Duncan whiff with Jeter perched on 3rd. They have to start hitting with RISP.

Tomorrow's finale in Cleveland finally ends a crazy road trip. 18 of the last 20 games will have been on the road. A 14-13 record, or even a 13-14 record isn't too shabby when you look at the big picture. You'd have to think it'll only get easier from here. Unfortunately, it sounds like they'll have to do it without the services of Jorge Posada. He was a late scratch today and the NY Times is reporting that Jorgie has a tear in his shoulder. I'm sure it's true, and it usually is when this type of news breaks, but the Yankees have yet to confirm it. Joe Girardi in his post game interview mentioned he's not sure how they'd know that considering Posada hasn't had an MRI yet. Good point, but I'm still sure it's true. Girardi definitely made it sound like Posada is going to miss some time. not good for an already struggling offense. Hopefully Chad Moeller clears waivers because I don't think the Yankees have any major-league ready catchers down on the farm. I wouldn't be surprised if Moeller gets claimed now that this story broke. If you're the Yankees you obviously want to keep this under wraps as long as possible. Thank God for Jose Molina. That could prove to be the best offseason move the team made.

My man Moose gets the ball tomorrow. He's pitched alright so far. He seems to do well whenever Wang does well ahead of him. He finally gets to match up against a lesser caliber pitcher. This year he's thrown against Josh Beckett (twice), Javy Vazquez, Jason Hammel and AJ Burnett. With the exception of Hammel, those are all top of the rotation starters, something Moose is not. Tomorrow he matches up against Aaron Laffey, who has just over 50 career innings pitched under his belt. It'll be the Yankees 1st look at Laffey and that could cause problems for the Yankees' struggling offense. Should be another interesting game. A series split would be nice.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Saturday, April 26, 2008

I Didn't See Much But What I Saw Was Enough

As I mentioned yesterday, I wasn't going to get to see much of today's game as I'd be at a 2 year old's birthday party. We left the part around 6:30 and when I got home I immediately went to the TV, flipped on the game and saw Grady Sizemore get cut down trying to steal 2nd base to end the 7th inning. Since it went to commercial, I hopped online to look at the box score. I was specifically interested in Ian Kennedy's performance. It was a 3-3 game so I was hopeful he made it into the 7th. 5 innings, 105 pitches, 4 walks. Not good. Now I didn't see him pitch so I can't really pass judgement on his performance, but it's gotten to the point where he's not benefiting the ball club in any way. Ike needs to be relied on to get a little deeper into games, especially when the bullpen is in shambles. I know he's young. I know there are expected growing pains. But right now, the negatives outweigh the positives. It looks like he only had 1 bad inning, which makes the high pitch count even more of a head scratcher to someone who didn't see the game. If the Yankees are going to keep him in the rotation, Kennedy needs to start pitching like a major leaguer. Right now, he doesn't deserve his spot in the rotation.

A quick scan of the offensive numbers told me that it looks like the Yankees were back to their old selves, failing to knock in runners that were in scoring position. all of the runs came on a pinch-hit triple by Posada. Lots of men LOB. The offense has been improving lately. Today's game looks like a step backwards. All i needed to see to validate that was the 9th inning. Johnny Damon, who has been on absolute fire lately, picks up a 1out single and moves to 3rd when Melky singles in his next AB. Jeter steps us and does the one thing he can't do in that situation and that's hit into the inning ending DP. Typical. I had seen a few minutes earlier in my box score scan that Jeter already had 3 hits so I liked the chances of him bringing home Damon and getting the ball to Mariano. I should have known better. Is it me or does it look like Jeter is trying to hit everything to right field? it seems like a lot of his singles are liners the opposite way, but so are a lot of his outs. Just an observation. They always talk about his great inside-out swing and his tendency to hit the opposite way. Maybe it just seems like he's hitting everything over there. I don't know. To me though it looks like Jeter is trying too hard to do that. Could be a reason why he's scuffling.

The Yankees have to do something with their bullpen. It's the same story every year. With the exception of Mo and for the most part Joba, everyone else is way too inconsistent. Nobody wants to step up and be the man. They all seem to have a string of good outings and then when they get into a pressure situation they cough up some runs. Today it was Hawkins and Farnsworth pitching well and it was Ross Ohlendorf's turn to be the guy who sucks it up. It's puzzling. And with the season-ending injury to Bruney, the demotion of Traber, the "maybe injury" to Joba, it doesn't look like it will be getting better anytime soon. Hawkins, Ohlendorf and Farnsworth need to step up their game.

I had hopes that this April would be different than the Aprils of the last few seasons. It started out so-so, got a little better and when they were 12-10 I felt good. Today's loss drops them below .500 and it's starting to be more and more like last year, except without all the A-bombs. It's been a rough schedule and I'm hoping they can hold on and salvage a game or two from Cleveland before heading to the D. If they can be .500 at the end of this roadie I'll be pretty happy. The ace gets the ball tomorrow and he really needs to have a good, long outing.

Come on Chien-Ming. We're counting on ya.


Friday, April 25, 2008

Starting Pitching Again Dooms Yankees

Andy Pettitte was bad tonight. No trying to sugar coat it. He just didn't have it. He's the guy who you can count on to throw at least 6 innings. Tonight he barely made it through 5. The Yankees bullpen needed the night off and Pettitte failed to deliver. With Ian Kennedy pitching tomorrow and no off day in sight, it could be a rough stretch for the Yankees bullpen. They got burned yesterday by the rain delay. They got burned today by Pettitte's ineffectiveness. I shudder to think what could happen tomorrow if Kennedy doesn't throw deep into the game. If he throws strikes he'll be OK. The bullpen is in shambles right about now. Bruney is done for the year. Farnsworth and Hawkins are terrible. Traber is unproven. We now have two AAAers up to help out in Albaladejo and Britton. Job is eventually headed for the rotation. And Mo is now and will always be Mo. No worries there. But worries pretty much everywhere else.

The offense tonight was brought to you courtesy of Jason Giambi. He had a pretty good swing tonight. He absolutely crushed his first homer. That was a shot. Rumor is that Shelley Duncan is on his way back. If Giambi wants his playing time he needs to keep swinging the bat like that. Outside of that there wasn't much doing. Jeter has been abysmal since the team left Baltimore. Cano continues to stink up the joint. The offense needs to pick up the pitching staff. As a unit tonight they were awful. Giambi and Matsui. That was pretty much it. They're very lucky they don't run into Carmona and Cliff Lee this series.

I'm probably going to miss tomorrow's game unless I DVR it, which I'll probably do. I have traffic school from 9-4 and a 2 year old's birthday party from 4-???. I got nabbed by the fuzz doing 43 in a 15. School zone. Lucky for me the cop was nice enough to leave the word "school" off the ticket. It got knocked down and I have to go to class and pay a $25 fine. Not bad all things considered. I'm not looking forward to the class. But that's what you get when you're a lead foot like me.

Enjoy your night/day. Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Bruney Out For Season

Pete Abraham mentions on his blog today that Brian Bruney is done for the year. This is a huge blow to the Yankees bullpen. Bruney was one of the more reliable pitchers the Yankees could call on in close games. It's unfortunate because we're likely going to get stuck with Farnsworth or Hawkins late in close games. Ugh. The Yankees called up Jonathan Albaladejo and Chris Britton to fill in down in the bullpen. Chad Moeller was DFA'd. Hopefully he clears waivers and can stick with the team. He served the Yankees very well in his short stint with the club.

Bad news for me. Pete Abe also mentions that Shelley Duncan will likely join the club tomorrow. I was really hoping he'd be with Scranton when they roll through Buffalo on Monday/Tuesday. Doesn't look like that will happen. What can you do? I wonder if his impending arrival has anything to do with Giambi stroking 2 bombs so far tonight? Maybe the Big G is reading the writing on the wall?


Friday Morning Manager

I'm still utterly confused why Joe Girardi and his crew elected to pitch to Joe Crede in the 9th inning last night. The winning run was on 2nd. There was 1 out and first base was open. Isn't that a no-brainer? I'm sure it's covered in "The Idiots Guide To Being An MLB Manager." Isn't the correct play to walk the hitter to set up the double play? I know Joba has the stuff to get any hitter out, but wouldn't you still issue the free pass and let him go after the next guy? Again, no brainer.

It really burns me because Joe Crede is leading the league in RBI. He's no slouch. The next guy in the White Sox lineup, Alexei Ramirez, is a slouch. He's hitting .167 for crying out loud. Granted the Sox may have gone with a pinch hitter but still, you have to walk Crede in that situation. Inexcusable.

I guess Joe Girardi doesn't like walking hitters. First Manny, now Crede. So far in my opinion a lot of Girardi's moves have backfired. I know it happens, but his success rate with these calls leaves a lot to be desired.


I Stayed Up For That?

Joe Crede just singled home the game winner. It's 12:42am and I'm sitting here dead tired but my head is clear enough to know Crede should have gotten the intentional pass. Pitching to him didn't make much sense. I'd love to stay up and here Girardi's reasoning for that but I'm sure it'll be out there somewhere tomorrow. Looks like Joba is human after all. This can't be sitting well with Hank.



Thursday, April 24, 2008

Game Back On But Hughes Is Done

I switched off the game once the rain delay started to watch tonight's episode of The Office. I had mixed feelings as to whether or not I wanted them to finish the game. I'm dog tired and I knew if there was a long delay that Phil Hughes' night was probably done. I had begun watching tonight's episode of Lost and when I flipped over to YES at a commercial break I find Ross Ohlendorf on the hill making his 1st pitch. Needless to say I was pretty bummed.

I'm a big Hughes guy and I was looking forward to watching him throw tonight. Hughes looked good in his brief 2 inning outing. The bats just spotted him a 3 run lead so his 1st win might not have been out of the question. I was a little worried at first when he had 3 ball counts on 2 batters in the 1st. I was thinking "here we go again." But he kept his pitches in the strike zone and worked his way though it. I can understand why Girardi pulled him. Better safe than sorry. It just would have been nice if Mother Nature had cooperated and held off on the downpour for a few more hours.

I highly doubt I'll be up for the entire game. I don't do well when the games run really late and I have work the next day. I usually make it through 1/2 the game when then they're out on the left coast. Considering it's quarter to 11 and we're only in the 4th inning I'll likely be packing it in soon. I hope to make it through at least 6 innings but we'll see.

The Sox just put a run up on the board and Ohlendorf looks shaky. It's now 3-2 Yanks. A ground ball would be nice right about now.

Thanks a lot Mother Nature.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

You Go Moose

The Mike Mussina haters out there are going to have to wait for another day to bag on the Moose. Mike pitched a great game tonight. I was most impressed with his ability to effectively change speeds. He doesn't need to have a blazing fastball if he can get a 20 MPH difference between his "heater" and his change. If you've been a reader of this blog for a while then you know I'm a big Moose guy. I'm a card carrying member of the Mike Mussina Fan Club. Yes there is one of you didn't know. If you're a Moose fan I highly suggest joining. But anyway, I think he's one of the best pitchers of my generation. My friend Dave likes to come around and jump all over him whenever he has a poor outing. Ironically, Dave only seems to comment here when Moose pitches. Odd. Nobody can bag on him tonight. He pitched a great game and picked up career win #252, despite the efforts of LaTroy Hawkins and Mike Myers, err I mean Billy Traber. As I said with Myers last year, what good is a lefty specialist if they can't get out lefties?

Crossing the bridge to Mariano continues to be a big struggle. I was initially impressed with Traber at the beginning of the season, but now, not so much. It drove me nuts all last year to watch the so-called "lefty specialist" continue to get battered around by lefties. Going into today lefties were hitting .333 off Traber. His WHIP against lefties was 1.91. And with Thome's single off him tonight those #s only go up. Not good. Not good. And Hawkins? They need to keep him out of close games or have him on a quick hook. Brutal. Just brutal.

It's a shame that Girardi had to go to Mariano Rivera for a 5 out save. It's no surprise that it was 5 up and 5 down. Mo is off to a great start. He's now thrown 9 innings on the year and has yet to allow a run. He's only given up 4 hits, walked none, and whiffed 8. Last year through 8.2 innings, Mo had allowed 11 hits, 9 ER, 3 walks, 9 Ks, had 2 blown saves, and was 1-2 with 1 save. What a difference a year makes? Wow. Best. Closer. Ever.

The offense again showed signs of breaking out of its slump. Jorge Posada had a huge night at the plate going 4-5 with 3 2Bs. His average is now north of .300. They're still not running on all cylinders. Jeter has struggled his last few games and Robbie Cano, ugh, don't get me started. I know Cano typically starts slow, but come on, you can't be hitting .165. I'm sure history will repeat itself and he'll be getting it going any day now.

The Yanks are now 12-10 and are on a mini-roll having won 3 in a row. Last year through 22 games they were 9-13. Considering their recent trend of starting cold and digging themselves a huge hole, I'm very encouraged by where they are right now. They'll no doubt heat up and get super hot in the coming weeks. Tomorrow's game should be interesting. Phil Hughes gets the ball and he really needs to have a good outing. I think if he can pitch well and nail down the series sweep, he's going to take off. I hope he's watched the 3 vets over the last 3 games and that he took away from their starts that he needs to throw strikes. That's all he needs to do.

It's as simple as that.


Looking For Some Info

I recently cashed in a lot of credit card points to get tickets in the Legends Suites section at Yankee Stadium. It's the section right behind home plate. The tickets label the seasts LSHP3 Row 1, seats 85 and 86. I'm assuming the LSHP stands for Legends Suites Home Plate. Anyway, I tried googling some info to try and see exactly where these seats are in relation to home plate but I came up empty. I'm also curious if they're truly in the 1st row as the seat numbers have me confused. Seems like a lot of seats to have in the first row if I have seats 85 and 86.

Has anybody ever sat in that section or been down there that might now a little about the section? Any info would help satisfy my curiosity.



Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Wang Picks Up Win #50 Behind Late-Inning Longballs

I hate games that start later in the evening. West coast games are absolutely brutal. My 8-month old son likes to wake up at 6am and the last thing I need to be doing at midnight is watching baseball and blogging about it. I love to sleep and I can usually function on 6 hours or so but really prefer to sleep as long as possible. But I'm a trooper and I'm always in it for the long haul.

Chien-Ming Wang wasn't his typical self but he pitched well enough to pick up his 50th career win. Wang wasn't anywhere near dominating but he pitched his way into and out of many jams. He threw a lot of pitches and I don't think I've ever seen him get to so many 3 ball counts, or 2 strike counts for that matter. He kept the team in the game and the team rewarded him by picking up the runs at just the right time. He left the game in the hole and a Bobby Abreu grand slam put him in line for the W.

Damon had a heck of a game at the plate. He's now 5 for his last 9 with 5 runs scored, 5 RBI, and 2 longballs. When Johnny succeeds at the plate, the team always seems to fare well. This could be start of good things from JD.

The Captain scuffled tonight. 0-5. Ouch. I thought for sure he'd deliver with the bases juiced in the 7th and the team down a run. If there was ever a Jeter moment it was then. Had there been 2 down I'm sure he would have come through with a hit. Thankfully Bobby Abreu picked Jeter up by hitting a grand salami. That was huge! Timely hits are starting to happen. Good times.

I about threw the remote through the TV when Traber and Bruney issues back-to-back walks to open up the 7th. If there's one thing I can't stand it's relievers that issue walks. Control problems have plagued Bruney his entire career. He started out so well. No walks in his first 3 games and 6 walks in his last 6. The one game he didn't walk someone he gave up 2 HRs to the Rays. It's not a good trend. But I still prefer him to Farnsworth or Hawkins.

The ineffectiveness of Traber and Bruney forced Girardi to bring in Joba in the 7th inning. I know there really are no "Joba Rules" this year but I prefer him in the 1 inning outings, and only pitching in the close ones. I was surprised he came out for the 8th after the Yankees picked up 3 insurance runs on Damon's HR. I would have turned it over to Farnsworth and/or Hawkins and saved Joba for another day, but I'm not the manager for a reason. I wonder if Girardi thinks he might need some mop-up work tomorrow with Moose pitching and that's why he continued with Joba. Maybe he was saving the scrubs just in case moose doesn't go deep into tomorrow's game.

Farnsworth blows. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

With the win the Yankees move to 11-10. I'm very pleased with that record all things considered. It should be worse. A lot worse. With the inconsistent pitching and lack of timely hitting they should probably be, I don't know, 6-15 maybe? Considering they've only played 9 games at home and have pretty much been on the road since the second week of the season I'm real happy with their current slot in the standings. They've weathered the storms so far and they've come out of it pretty well. 11-10. I'll take it.

Congrats again to the Wanger for picking up career win #50. He's the youngest to 50 since Doc Gooden reached it in 1986. It's late. Don't quote me on the year. I think it's right but the brain starts powering down at midnight and the clock just struck 12.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Perfect Timing

I just wanted to take a quick second to congratulate A-Rod and his wife Cynthia on the birth of their second daughter. She was born late Monday night and will rejoin the team Thursday in Chicago.

The timing couldn't be better as A-Rod is currently on the shelf nursing a sore quad. He was going to get some time off anyway and now he can kill two birds with one stone. Finally, the Yankees catch a break.

Congrats Alex.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Weekend Wrap-Up

Considering today was an off day (finally!), I thought I'd take a little tiny break from blogging and combine my last 2 recaps into 1 post covering the last 2 games. I spent the bulk of the weekend enjoying the weather and hanging out with my 8-month old son. We of course though made time for Yankees baseball.

Saturday's game was absolutely horrible. As I stated so succinctly the other day after the game, "The Yankees suck right now. The pitching sucks. The offense sucks." It was pretty brutal watching the game on Saturday. They couldn't get anything going. Ian Kennedy was absolutely horrible. I'm so glad there's an off day today because it finally gives them the chance to break up Hughes ad Kennedy in the rotation. With Pettitte in between them the bullpen should at least get some kind of break when Pettitte throws. Kennedy and Phil Hughes suffer from the same problem right now and that's that they're trying way too hard to nibble around the strike zone as opposed to attacking it. If any of you saw Joe Girardi's post game interview after Saturday's game you could totally tell he was frustrated with the free passes and the short outings. While I understand the growing pains that comes with young pitchers that are basically learning on the job, there is no excuse for not throwing strikes. We're only 20 games into the season and both Hughes and Kennedy have only made 4 starts. It's way too early to think that they'll continue to falter. Give them time and they'll be fine. Look at last year's Cy Young award winner. He's not doing too much better. They'll both be fine.

Hughes and Ian need to watch a replay of Sunday's game because Andy Pettitte showed everyone how it's done. 7 scoreless innings and no walks. He was economical with his pitches (89) and he was throwing the ball for strikes (59). Andy gave the Yankees exactly what they needed. He pitched deep into the game and finally gave the bullpen some much needed rest. I'm so glad that Andy came back for one more year. We'd be in trouble without him. But back to my point. I hope Phil and Ian were paying attention because Pettitte gave a pitching lesson. Throw strikes. Don't be shy. I don't know if Phil and Ian are trying to pick up cheap strikeouts getting guys to chase outside pitches, but they don't have to do that to be successful as Andy showed them. Throw your stuff over strikes and you'll get your Ks.

It might help the pitching staff if the offense could put some runs up on the board. Maybe the results would be a little different if these guys could pitch with a lead. Their inability to hit with runners in scoring position boggles my mind. I can see maybe 1 or 2 guys failing to deliver but it's pretty much the whole team, with the exception of maybe Derek Jeter. A-rod has been absolutely horrible. The one time he gets a hit with a guy on 3rd the runner fails to score. I'm sick of watching Melky strike out with runners on. And Giambi? I'm not saying the Yankees should follow Toronto's suit and release the Big G a la Frank Thomas but the guy has to start hitting. I'm wondering when the monster that is Shelley Duncan will reappear. Hopefully he spends the rest of them month with Scranton. They come to Buffalo a week from today and I'd like to see him.

It was nice to see some offensive production on Sunday. Figured that it happened the one time the starter gave up no runs. It's still hard to believe that as a team they're hitting around .200 with RISP, especially when about half the lineup is hitting north of .300. When it rains it pours. How awesome has it been to have backup catchers that can hit the ball? Moeller has definitely been a pleasant surprise. Never in a million years would I have expected him to hit above the Mendoza line. Thankfully he's showing me to be wrong. I couldn't stand our last few backups for the sole reason that they couldn't hit. You've got to give it up to Jeter too. He's the MVP of the team so far in my estimation. Leading the team in RBI when you typically hit in the 2 hole is pretty impressive especially when you look at the other bats on the team. A-Rod may have been on to something when he predicted Jeter would have an MVP type season. I won't go as far as saying he will, but I definitely think he'll be the team's MVP.

So they're sitting at 10-10 and headed to Chicago. It could be a heck of a lot worse all things considered. They've struggled mightily yet are still managing to play .500 ball. They've been pretty bad in recent Aprils. I'm encouraged for the most part about what I've seen. They'll only heat up. If they can just finish out the month at around .500 I think they'll do just fine.

Here's hoping the starters bounce back from last week's abysmal performances. Enjoy your night/day.


Words From Big Bank Hank

Hank Steinbrenner, aka Big Bank Hank, has dropped another nugget of gold into our collective laps with regards to Joba Chamberlain being a starter:

"I want him as a starter and so does everyone else, including him, and that is what we are working toward and we need him there now. There is no question about it, you don't have a guy with a 100-mile-per-hour fastball and keep him as a setup guy. You just don't do that. You have to be an idiot to do that. The mistake was already made last year switching him to the bullpen out of panic or whatever. I had no say in it last year and I wouldn't have allowed it. That was done last year, so now we have to catch up. It has to be done on a schedule so we don't rush him."

He also added, "I think once Hughes and Kennedy get plenty of starts and get Joba back, and with (Chien-Ming) Wang and (Andy) Pettitte, we will be fine."

Tell us how you really feel Hank. Now what I take from this is that Hank thinks that Joe Torre, Joe Girardi, and Brian Cashman, amongst others, are idiots. There's a vote of confidence if I've ever heard one. I don't think Hank knows as much as he thinks he does. There's a reason Hank is an owner and not a coach or general manager. I don't think Hank has a good understanding of what comes along with the day-to-day operations of managing a young pitching staff. You have to take into account innings limits for these youngsters. There's no way that Hughes, Kennedy, or Chamberlain should log 180+ innings this year. They'll each easily reach that limit if they start 30 or so games, which they would if they spend the year in the rotation. Stats have shown that guys that increase their inning more than a certain percentage develop arm issues and also they show not to be as effective. The last think anyone wants is for these guys to flame out before they're even in their prime.

The success Joba has had as a setup guy isn't going to translate to the same success as a starter. Joba can live off his 2 best pitches (fastball/slider) in a 1 inning. He'll need to throw a more variety of pitches if he starts. No guarantee that he'll be able to do is as effectively. The coaches know what they're doing. They're doing this for a reason.

I agree with Hank to a point but I think he's panicking because the Yankees are sitting at 10-10 and the pitching so far has been a problem. I don't think Hank would have made these comments if Hughes and Kennedy were living up to expectations.

Calm down Hank. It'll be OK.

Be back later with a weekend wrap-up.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Short & Sweet

The Yankees suck right now. The pitching sucks. The offense sucks. Serenity now. Serenity now.

Be back later with some expansion on these thoughts.


Friday, April 18, 2008

Pitching Woes Continue & Offense Does Nothing To Help

There's not really much to say about tonight's Yankee game that hasn't been said before. We've seen these types of Yankee games more often than we'd like to. Starter goes less than 6, bullpen gives up some runs, offense is almost non-existent. Same story, different day.

I didn't think Phil Hughes pitched that bad. He seemed to be a lot better with his control though he didn't help himself out at all by going deep into counts. I'm not sure why he couldn't finish anybody off either. He only picked up 1 strikeout. I would think a pitcher of Hughes' caliber could have racked up a few more. His outing wouldn't have been as bad if the defense helped him out. A-Rod's indecision to throw to home or to first cost the team an out, chased Hughes from the game, and forced Girardi to go to an ineffective LaTroy Hawkins who again failed to do his job. Just when you think maybe Hawkins has turned it around, he comes on and stinks up the joint.

But back to Hughes, and for all intents and purposes Ian Kennedy also. These guys are going to struggle. Michael Kay mentioned in the broadcast a comment Brian Cashman made and it basically was that the Yankees understand that when you have pitchers this young, you're going to have to experience their growing pains. Hughes is the youngest pitcher in baseball. Considering he's only 21 and most guys hit their prime around 26/27, he's got quite a ways to go before he hits his stride. In all honesty, the youngsters could probably benefit from a little more time spent down on the farm developing their skills and honing their craft. Unfortunately that's not an option. The decision was made to go with the youngsters and any windows to bring in "veterans" that could pitch effectively have closed. I think we're going to see these guys go through a lot of ups and downs early on but in the long run they'll do just fine. The biggest thing we need from them right now is for them to be more economical with their pitches. Hughes threw a lot of first pitch strikes but ended up getting into trouble with all the deep counts. Hence the 97 pitches thrown in only 5 and 1/3 innings. They've got to attack the strike zone.

Is it me or does Daniel Cabrera seem to kick it up a notch when he faces the Yankees? I'm going off of memory and sometimes it thinks it knows things that it doesn't, but I recall him having their number quite a bit last year. He's another guy that hasn't been able to fully harness his potential. He had the Yankees stymied tonight. The Yankee bats had their chances but never really took advantage when they could have. It all goes back to failing to hit with runners in scoring position. With 2 on and no out in the 7th our 3-4-5 guys go down 1-2-3. They're hitting the ball hard. They just all seem to be right at defenders. But it is what it is and what it is is failing to deliver hits when they're needed. They always seem to start slow and you know they'll eventually start running on all cylinders. But right now it's the same story, different year.

Edwar Ramirez pitched pretty well. I still don't think he's ready for prime time but the Yanks need fresh arms in the pen right now. Hurry back Joba. We miss/need you.

Ian Kennedy gets the ball tomorrow and he really needs to eat some innings to give the pen a rest. Hopefully Girardi takes advantage of the off day Monday and uses it to slide Andy Pettitte in between Phil and Ian. It can only help.

I guess I did have quite a bit too say.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Beckett = Good, Moose = Bad, Me = Unhappy

I think the only thing that was enjoyable about tonight's Yankees/Sox game was watching David Ortiz go 0-5. Other than that it was a pretty crappy game.

My man Moose did not have anything tonight. He was downright awful. Talk about ineffective. I got a called from my friend Dave during the game. Needless to say he's not a big Moose fan. and right now I can totally understand where he's coming from. I know people are going to be ragging on him and wanting him yanked from the rotation, but that's not the answer. It's a bad outing. It was really no different than Wang's outing the night before. Both were awful. You could even argue that Wang's outing was worse. So before anyone decides to bag on Moose, just remember that he's pitched pretty well so far, today not counting of course. He pitched pretty well last week in Fenway. The only mistake was pitching to arguably the best right-handed hitter in the game. Manny is on the verge of hitting his 500th HR. He's made many good pitcher look bad during his career. Manny absolutely owns Moose. I don't think you can look at this start and assume Moose will continue to pitch this way. With the exception of David Ortiz, the Sox bats are pretty hot right now.

Derek Jeter continues to show what timely hitting is all about. Jeter is absolutely amazing with 2 out and runners in scoring position. He's now 3-6 w/ RISP and 2 outs. As I pointed out yesterday, he hit .418 in 67 ABs with RISP and 2 outs last year. In 2006 he hit .369. If there's a guy you want up with 2 out and runners on, it's Captain Clutch. Right now the opposite of Derek is A-Rod. His foul out to the catcher now makes him 0-7 on the year with RISP and 2 outs. you'd think the reigning MVP would do a little better there. I think Alex's problem is he's looking longball. He needs to shorten up that swing and concentrate on keeping the line moving. Base hits score runs.

As much as I dislike him, you've got to tip your hat to Josh Beckett. He threw a pretty good game. He didn't really give the Yanks much of a chance tonight. When the Yanks got to him in the 5th and I thought maybe they could scratch their way back into the game. Beckett retired every batter he faced from the end of the 5th on. The Yanks just couldn't get it going.

Joe Girardi definitely needs to figure something out with the rotation. The short starts are going to kill the bullpen. They had this problem last year and that didn't work out to well. There's speculation that once the off day comes along that they're going to slide someone in between Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy. I hope they do that because right now they're running the risk of too many short outings in a row. It makes total sense to move Pettitte up a day and have him throw between the 2 youngsters. Pettitte and Wang should be able to throw 6-7 innings per game. A rotation of Wang-Moose-Hughes-Pettitte-Kennedy should give the bullpen the relief it needs, especially if Moose has a decent outing.

So we're done with Boston for a few months. I like the break. These guys play way too often and it takes away from the rivalry in my opinion. I thought they matched up pretty well against the BoSox. The Yankees never play them well in April and going 2-3 against them isn't that bad.

Phil Hughes gets the call tomorrow against Baltimore and he needs to have a good outing. His last 2 outings were horrendous. He definitely needs to put those starts in the past and pitch the way we all know he can. Another short outing isn't going to cut it.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wang Gets Wocked, Sox Get Socked, Yanks Win 15-9

I'm starting to write this post a little after 10pm in the east. This game is your typical Yankees/Sox affair. A knocked down, dragged out fight with each side landing blow after blow after blow. We're already 3 hours deep and at this rate it's going to end after 11. Dude has to work in the morning. I can't be staying up all night blogging. It's currently 11-9 Yankees. Abreu just flew out to the LF corner to open up the inning. I may sprinkle in some nuggets about the live action as I type this.

This game was the polar opposite of the Wang/Buchholz pitching duel from last week. Neither pitcher had their A game tonight. I think you can argue the point that neither had their B, C, D or E games either. Neither pitcher made it past the 4 inning mark and each got hit pretty hard. This was definitely not your typical Wang outing. The last post I wrote talked about how dominant Wang has been against the Sox in his last 3 or so outings. You can basically crinkle that post up and toss it right in the trash.

If you had told me before the game that the Yankees would have scored 7 runs off Buchholz, I would have thought a Wang win was automatic. I'm a little shocked that he got hit for a 9 spot but it happens. Al Leiter dropped some insight on bad outings during the YES broadcast. In short, they're going to happen. He said that great pitchers typically have about 20 starts a year where there stuff is on. That would mean you'd have about 10-15 starts a year where you were scuffling on the hill. You also mentioned that when he was a Yankee farm hand, Joe Altobelli told him that the expectations for pitchers were to have 2 great starts, 2 good starts, and 1 bad start in every 5 outings. This was Chien-Ming's 4th start of the year. He's had 2 great outings, 1 good one, and now 1 bad one. I'd say he's on track. I'm not at all discouraged by his outing. It's going to happen. He's our ace. He'll bounce back.

Kate Smith just finished singing God Bless America. I've got to give it up to LaTroy Hawkins. His 2 solid innings have closed the flood gates. He now hasn't given up an earned run in his last 5 outings. He seems to be settling in and that's what the Yankees are going to need from him, and that's what they brought him here to do. It's good to see him pitch well. He was definitely one of the main components in tonight's win. He came in and shut the door on the Sox offense. Hawkins picked up his 1st win in Pinstripes.

Right from the get-go the offense was on tonight. I was pretty pumped after Bobby and Alex went back-to-back. Alex absolutely crushed that ball. It looks like they're finally turning things around offensively. They racked up double-digit runs on double-digit hits, and no one was left out of the party. They were hitting with runners in scoring position too. It's about freaking time. We saw 2-out run scoring hits from Moeller and Jeter in the 4th. Jeter is picking up right where he left off last year. The moniker of Captain Clutch is very fitting. Last year with 2 outs and RISP Jeter hit .418. He was hitting .333 with 2 out and RISP coming into this game. Melky just got thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double. The replay showed he was safe but what can you do. I don't mind him trying to pick up the extra base but you have to be aware of the situation. It would have been nice to let Derek do his thing. The 5th inning was a bright spot also. They put 5 consecutive guys on base and took the momentum back from the Sox. That was huge.

Chad Moeller is filling in quite nicely. 3-4 with a walk and an RBI. His 2 out run scoring double in the 4th was a pretty clutch hit. But his 5th inning walk was probably one of the most clutch Yankee plate appearances of the night. He worked that count and eventually picked up the free pass which loaded the bases. His slide into Lugo to break up the DP and cause a throwing error allowing a run score was pretty sweet also. Moeller was named player of the game. Well deserved. It's refreshing to see that we have 2 backup catchers that can fill in for Posada and do such an effective job.

We're headed to the bottom of the 8th now. Traber and Bruney pitched us through the inning. Traber had a long outing, eh? He got Ortiz to foul out to Moeller on 1 pitch. Not bad for a day's work. Bruney bounced back from his rough outing in Tampa. He buckled down after giving up a single to Manny. I love it when someone strikes out Kevin Youkilis. That makes my day. Considering Youkilis went down on strikes 3 times tonight I'm a happy camper. The bullpen did a pretty solid job tonight. It's too bad they didn't have Joba though. I don't mind seeing Bruney and Traber pitch but I don't get that same warm and fuzzy feeling I get with Joba on the mound in the 8th. I think it's safe to say we all feel that way. Come back soon Joba. But not too soon. Make sure your pops is OK first though.

A-Rod just hit an automatic double. That blows because Jeter would have scored no doubt. They're loading the bases by walking Matsui. I really hope they come through with some more insurance runs. I mentioned yesterday that the failures of the offense to score late against Tampa Bay could come back to bite them in the rear if they needed to call on Mariano for a 3rd straight day. That was the last thing I wanted to see happen. Jorge just dunked in a 2-run bloop and Mo has taken a seat. Another hit with RISP. That was huge. Me likely. Hip hip Jorge.

Giambi just blooped a 2-run double to left field. Another hit with RISP. Me really likey. I thought for sure that Giambi took Timlin yard again. I think I would have dropped a deuce on the floor if he had. But going the other way for a 2-run double is just as nice. Mike Timlin is taking it on the chin this year against the Yankees. Timlin has now given up 8 hits and 7 earned runs in 1.1 innings against the Yankees. Giambi's is 3-3 against him. Considering the Big G now has 5 hits on the season that's pretty funny.

Brian Bruney is killing me right now. I want to go to bed dude. Quit messing around and pick up these last 2 outs! And a fly out to Damon ends the game.

That was a crazy game. The offense was definitely on its game tonight. 15 runs on 16 hits. Everybody hits and Matsui is the only one without an RBI. Not too shabby. What could have been an ugly loss turned into a huge win. The Yankees are winners of three in a row and all signs point to that they're turning the corner offensively. This win was definitely a team effort. Nice job boys.


Give Some Love To Chien-Ming

We all know that Chien-Ming Wang utterly dominated the Red Sox when the two teams met last week in Fenway. I pulled up the results of the last 10 plate appearances that each member of the Red Sox had against Wang and the statistics are amazing! Have a look:

  • Sean Casey: 0-10 w/ 1 K
  • Alex Cora: 1-10 w/ 1 HR
  • Coco Crisp: 1-10 and is zero for his last 9
  • J.D. Drew: 1-9 w/ 1 HR & 1 BB
  • Jacoby Ellsbury: 0-1
  • Julio Lugo: 0-10 w/ 2 K
  • David Ortiz: 0-9 w/ 3 K & 1 BB
  • Dustin Pedroia: 0-10
  • Manny Ramirez: 0-10 w/ 3 K
  • Jason Varitek: 0-8 w/ 1 K & 2 BB
  • Kevin Youklis: 0-7 w/1 K & 2 BB & 1 HBP
  • Team totals: 3-94 w/ 2 HR, 6 BB, 1 HBP, & 11 K (that's an average of .032!!)

Wow! I'm almost speechless at how dominant Wang has been against the Sox in his last few outings. He's allowed 10 baserunners in 101 plate appearances. 94 at-bats would equate to about 31.3 innings. 3 hits in 31.3 innings! Yowza. In his last 2 starts against them he is 2-0 w/ 16 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 8 K. He last faced the Sox at the Stadium on 8/30/07. He picked up the W in 7 innings of work. He gave up 1 hit, walked 4, and whiffed 5. Again, wow! How people don't consider him an ace is beyond me? I understand he had 2 horrible playoff starts, but consider the stats above along with these tidbits, and I don't know how people don't give him the credit he deserves:

  • The best winning % in the majors from 2006-2008 w/ a minimum of 30 starts belongs to Chein-Ming Wang with a winning percentage of .759 (41-13)
  • Wang has the best winning percentage by a Yankees pitcher at Yankee Stadium since 1976. He's 28-9 (.757) at the Stadium.
  • Wang leads the majors in wins from 2006-2008 with 41 total wins. Josh Beckett and Brandon Webb are 2nd with 37.
  • Over his last 26 starts, Wang is 19-3 with an ERA of 3.27. He has a winning % of .864 over that stretch which is the best in the majors.
  • Wang has allowed an average of .5 HRs per 9 IP. That's the 4th lowest total among all Major League pitchers with a minimum of 75 starts since 1973, the year the DH was introduced.

I'm not sure what those stats tell you but they tell me that Chien-Ming is one of the best pitchers in the game today. He doesn't get close to the credit he deserves. Those numbers against the Red Sox are unreal. I'd like to see another pitcher who is even close to that type of domination of the last 10 plate appearances against them. I doubt their is one.

Quite simply, Chien-Ming Wang is an ace. Plain and simple.


You Don't Know Where You're Going If You Don't Look Back

I received an e-mail yesterday from Lisa Swan, who co-writes the Subway Squawkers blog over at the NY Daily News. She was letting me know about the special look back the the NY Daily News has online about The Stadium. I'm sure most of you have seen the commercials that they run during Yankee games about the special magazine that's included in the Sunday edition of the Daily News. I'm not sure how many of you are fortunate enough to find a copy of the paper, but this is basically an online version but a lot more interactive. I personally drove around the city of Buffalo last Sunday for 2 hours trying to find a copy. I lucked out. But for those that aren't as lucky, like I was 2 weeks ago when I didn't find a copy, you can read online versions of the special edition magazine on this site. There are also a lot of pictures and articles that take a look back at the history of The Stadium. It's a site all Yankees fans will certainly enjoy.

I just wanted to share the details with my fellow Yankee fans as it's a great look back at one of the greatest places on Earth. I think it's something everyone would enjoy checking out.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Hawkins To Change Uniform #

Well I hope you so-called fans are proud. LaTroy Hawkins is giving up wearing the #21. There was a huge uproar from Yankees "fans" over Hawkins' choice to wear 21. A lot of "fans" felt that the number belonged to Paul O'Neill and that no future Yankee should ever don the number. Get real guys. It's a number. Get over it.

And in my opinion, O'Neill was a good ball-player, but not one worthy of having his number retired. It would be crazy to put O'Neill in the same breath as Yankee legends like Billy Martin, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Bill Dickey, Roger Maris, Phil Rizzuto, Thurman Munson, Reggie Jackson, Ron Guidry, Elston Howard, Whitey Ford, Casey Stengel and Don Mattingly. O'Neill was good but is nowhere near deserving having his number retired. Which is the only way to prevent this from happening again. Sorry, but it's not going to happen.

The article states that Hawkins decision to change the # was made after talking to Derek Jeter, Marinao Rivera, and other Yankees veterans. The consensus opinion was that it wasn't worth all the trouble. Props to Hawkins for taking the high road. It's a classy move, and one that he never should have had to make. Am I alone here in thinking this?

Pete Abraham perfectly sums it up on his blog: "Nice legacy for No. 21 now. It’s not retired but it can’t be used because some fans are jerks. If it does get retired now, it won’t be for the right reasons."

Stay classy Yankees "fans."


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Despite Leaving The Free World On Base, Yanks Win 5-3

The Yankees may have won the game but this fan isn't too happy with their performance. The lack of hitting with men on base is disgusting. In the last 3 innings, Yankee hitters left 8 runners in base. Abreu went 0-2 and stranded 5. A-Rod went 0-2 and stranded 5. Damon stranded 3 and Giambi left 2 on. With the exception of Damon, that's the heart of the order and the guys that are supposed to knock in runs. I'll give Abreu a pass because he drove in a run with 2 outs in the 5th. The Yankees had 17 baserunners and managed 5 runs. They had a plenty an opportunity to score in the 7th, 8th and 9th innings and failed miserably. Pathetic.

Probably the worst thing to come from the offensive failures is that the Yankees had to use Mariano Rivera on back-to-back nights. This likely makes Mo unavailable for tomorrow night's game against Boston. No Mo and no Joba. Does that make LaTroy Hawkins the closer? Yikes. Mo was his typical self in the 9th. What a difference a year makes? The last thing I wanted to see happen was Carlos Pena get into the box as the tying run but Mo got him to ground out to Cano on the first pitch of the at bat. He picked up his 5th save but he never should have had to pitch.

I was amazed that Andy Pettitte lasted 7 innings and was somehow able to hold the Rays to only 3 runs. He was far from sharp but it was a very effective outing. He improved greatly as the game went on. He allowed 9 baserunners in the 1st 3 innings and only 3 in the last 4. It would have been a shame had the bullpen found a way to blow this. Andy worked for and deserved that win. He's a horse and I'm glad he's on my team.

How about that Kyle Farnsworth? I was praying for anybody but him in the 8th. I honestly thought we'd see Jonathan Albaladejo. I could not believe my eyes when he sent the Rays hitters down in order. I don't remember the exact statistic, and I'm too lazy to look it up, but last year Farnsworth had very few 1-2-3 innings. Ok, I looked it up. I think it was 16 times in 65 games. I think this is now his 2nd time in 6 games. A little better but not what we need. I don't know why Joe has faith in him? I'd never use him in that spot.

Jeter is swinging the bat real well since his hiatus. 3 hits and a walk. A key 2 out RBI single. That's how it's done. He's the captain for a reason. His average last year with 2 outs and RISP was .418. if there's a guy I want up with runners on and 2 outs it's the Captain. Everyone else needs to take note because that's how it's done. Short swings = base hits =runs batted in. It's that simple.

I guess in the end all that matters is that the Yankees won the game. I'm just a little displeased with what I saw. I want to see a finely tuned machine and what I'm seeing is the parts moving but never at the same time. The boys now get to go home for a two-game set with the BoSox, winners of 4 in a row. Thanks a lot Cleveland relievers. Our ace is on the hill. Wang gets the ball in a rematch against Clay Buchholz. Wang's last outing against the Sox can only be referred to as dominant. Chien-Ming pitches better at home so I'm expecting another good game from the Wangster.

We're sitting at 8-7 and a game out of first. All things considered it could be a lot worse.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Monday, April 14, 2008

Bullpen Blows Win For Kennedy, Robbie Cano To The Rescue

Robbie Cano. It's about time. Now that's a way to break out of a slump. Cano bailed out an awful performance by the Yankees bullpen and gave the Yankees a hard fought victory in what should have been a cake walk. It figures that the one time they break out the lumber that the pitching would falter.

I was pretty shocked as I watched Traber and Bruney get smacked around the way they did. I still prefer them to the tandem of Farnsworth and Hawkins. But they were awful tonight. It really sucks that they blew the game for Ian Kennedy and that Bruney gets the win. Kennedy should have earned his first victory of the season tonight. If not for a line drive off the hip he probably would have. Kennedy looked good tonight. Real solid. It was definitely an encouraging performance. He wasn't what I would call dominant but he was pretty effective. 94 pitches, 60 for strikes and was ahead of most hitters. And that's what you want to see. If the pitcher can get ahead of the hitter it opens up a lot of options. I hate watching guys try to nibble around the strike zone. Attack the zone and you'll win your share of ball games. It was amazing how soon after he left the game the bullpen blew the lead. Horrible. I'll chalk it up to a one-off. It would have been nice to have had some Joba out there, but what can you do?

The Bronx Bombers were in the house tonight busting out for 8 runs on 15 hits, 4 of which left the yard. How nice was it to see some offense? I couldn't believe it in the 4th when Jeter and Damon had back to back hits with runners in scoring position. I don't think we've seen that all season. It was great to have Jeter back in the lineup. 2 for 5 with 2 RBI isn't a bad way to come back from a week off. We missed you Cap. I didn't notice any ill effects of his strained quad. The question is how will he feel tomorrow?

It was nice to see Alex rack up 4 hits. He talked in the post game about working on shortening up his swing. That's exactly what he needs to do. I keep saying quit trying to hit the 8-run HR. He shortens it up and picks up 4 hits in the process. I hope he keeps it up. The dingers will come naturally. No need to push for 'em.

Cano's pinch-hit HR was absolutely huge. That was a big knock and I hope it gets Robbie going. It definitely changed my mood. I went from being dejected by Bruney and Traber's performance to jumping around the room. Good thing the wife and son are in Atlanta visiting her sister. I would have woken him up for sure.

God bless Mariano Rivera. I was surprised Girardi went to him for a 4 out save. I thought for sure Albaladejo was going to finish the 8th. But why risk it? Mo hadn't pitched since Thursday so it's not like he had a tired arm. It was the top of the order too so I think it was definitely the right call. Girardi got lucky tonight. Cano's pinch hit HR bailed out his call to the bullpen. Girardi has had some bad luck with some of his moves. I'll give you a reprieve there Joe. It worked out.

It wasn't pretty tonight but a win is a win and i'll take it no matter how it happens. We're back to .500. Andy gets the ball tomorrow. A 2 game winning streak would make for a nice homecoming when the boys get home to take on Boston. I hate the Red Sox. Nice job there Joe Borowski. Way to go. Speaking of the Sox, it's funny how the Yankees dig up Papi's jersey and then he breaks out of his slump. Odd coincidence wouldn't you say?