Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Final Homestand Is Upon Us, Yanks Salvage Split in DH With Rays

Since tonight's game against the Rays wasn't on TV in our area, I don't have much to say about the game. I checked in with the Yahoo Gamecast periodically just to see what the score was and to see how Jeter was doing in his quest to become Yankee Stadium's all-time hit leader. All I really have to go on is the box score, which usually gives me a good idea of how things went and how people did. For example, Sidney Ponson sucked like I thought he would. 3.1 innings and 10 baserunners? Typical Ponson. Now that the season is pretty much over, the time has come to yank him out of the rotation and let one of the many youngsters get a shot. That's something that should have happened a while ago. It's not like any newbies would be pitching in meaningless games either. They still have series left to play that have a lot of meaning, if not to the Yanks then to the team they're playing. It would be a good way to gauge what these kids got. And since we're now into the single-digits of games left at Yankee Stadium, it would be nice to give some of the call-ups the chance to play in the 'ol ballpark. Speaking of youngsters, Phil Hughes is on his way back to NY and is lined up to pitch Wednesday. Welcome back Phil. Don't blow this shot.

Getting back to the box score, I've got to give props to the bullpen for shutting the rays down and allowing the offense to work the team back into the game. Things could have gotten real ugly. Phil Coke is looking like a pretty solid contributor. I won't complain if he ends up on the major league roster next April. It's about time Mo saw some action. His last appearance was a week ago. 2 hits and an earned run? Not your typical Mariano Rivera outing. The layoff could have made Mo a little rusty. The layoff though is indicative of how crappy the team has been playing lately. It's like they're phoning in the rest of the season. One guy who's not though? You guessed it.

Derek Jeter ripped it up today. Coming into today the Captain needed 9 hits to tie Lou Gehrig as the Stadium's all-time hit leader with 1269 and what's he do? He goes 6 for 7 in the double header. Jeter now needs 3 hits over the final 8 home games to tie Gehrig, and 4 to pass him. 4 hits in 8 games? I don't want to jinx him so I'll keep my mouth shut, but I'm sure you're all thinking the same thing. It would be nice to see him tie or break the record. I would have been pissed had it happened today with the game not being on TV. I'm still bugged about that. Why couldn't the first half of the day-night DH be the make-up game? I could have lived without that one.

Mike Mussina wasn't at his sharpest today. I really thought Moose was going to pick up 1in #18 today, especially after he struck out 3 in the first inning. But Rays manager Joe Maddon made a smart move by stacking the Rays lineup with righties. Righties are hitting .322 off Moose while lefties are only hitting .240. Memo to Joe Girardi: take note of this. Girardi applies to the school of thought that you have to go with lefty/righty matchups. Remember when he put Pudge into pinch run and Melky into pinch hit against a righty? Stupid move. Pudge in his 18 year career is a 298 hitter against RHPs. Melky in his short 4 year career hits 272 against righties. Play the stats Joe, not the matchups. Maddon made a smart move stacking his lineup with righties. They worked Moose over and Moose was lucky to make it through 5. To win 20 games now, Moose has to be perfect the rest of the way and win all of his final 3 starts. 3 wins in 3 games. Not going to be easy, especially if the offense tanks like they did for him today.

With the exception of Derek Jeter, the offense really did nothing today. It was the 47th game this year where they scored 2 runs or less. That's pitiful. This offense is so underperforming. It's one of, if not the biggest reason why the team was unsuccessful this year. I can't help but wonder how the team prepares for each pitcher they face. Sometimes it looks like they're not prepared at all. Wasn't Joe Girardi supposed to be all about preparation? I wonder what role Kevin Long has in all of this? As hitting coach, I'm assuming he goes over the scouting report of each pitcher, breaks him down, and passes the info along to the team. I'd like to think that happens. I wonder if it is? And if it is, are the scouting reports bad? When you look at the talent in the lineup, it doesn't make sense that they consistently underperform, especially when facing pitchers for the first time. The Yankees always seem to struggle with pitchers they've never seen before. I can see this happening once or twice, but not as often as it does. And what's up with A-Rod sitting because of a stiff neck? What a vadge. The team is still mathematically in it and he sits out. If that's not a sign that the team has given up, I don't know what is.

We're 2 games into the 1st contest to win one of the Essential Games Of Yankee Stadium DVD Box sets. 5 people entered the contest and the winner is the person who correctly predicts the answer to this question (or comes closest to it without going over): How many total runs and hits will the Yankees have in their 3 games against the Rays? They had 9 in the 1st game and 17 in the 2nd game for a total of 26. Dan needs a no-hitter to win. Sorry Dan, I'm doubting that will happen. Dave needs the Rays to pitch a 1-hit shutout. Unlikely. Joe is in good shape with his guess of 28 because the next highest guess was Kim with 39. Tom's guess of 54 might be a little out of reach. Good luck to you guys in the final game.

There is still plenty of time to enter any of the 4 remaining contests. You'll find the remaining 4 questions and plenty of information on how to enter/win in many of my recent blog posts. Scroll down and give them a look. As of now, if there are no more entries, the odds to win the 2nd giveaway would be 1 in 4. Those are pretty good odds if you ask me. If only the Yankees odds at winning were so good.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,



Leo' said...

I forgot to mention Wangster ( Just another nickname curtesy of Jeter). I thought Matsui & Wang where zen and undestructable, guess not. I could see how this team is in fourth place now. I'm just started to beleive it.