The Yankees beat the Twins last night 6-5 and I found myself very frustrated watching the game. How do those guys manage only 6 runs when they rack up 16 hits? That came should have been a blow out. Had they lost, I'd have gone through the roof.
The Shelley Duncan experiment has to end soon. Horrible at the plate. Horrible in the field. The Yanks can easily find better. I've said on many occasion I'm not a big fan of Duncan. He might run into the occasional homer but the negatives far outweigh the positives. He made an absolutely horrible throw to 2nd in the 1st inning, which eventually led to 4 runs. Duncan is going to be a 4-A player. Too good for the minors, not good enough for the majors. I like his enthusiasm, but that doesn't win a lot of ball games.
I thought we were in for another Mike Mussina meltdown after Duncan's 1st inning error. Kind of like what we saw when he only lasted two-thirds of an inning against Baltimore. Moose has to do a better job of picking the team up after the defensive miscues. After Duncan's error, Moose gave up 3 straight singles, all with the bases loaded. Granted, the defensive has to play better behind Moose, but Moose can't be doing that when they tank a play, something they've done 7 times this season. What Moose can do though is battle his way through the inning and then shut the door. Moose was brilliant last night in innings 2 through 5, allowing only 2 hits in those 5 innings. He kept the team in the game and the offense did the rest. Moose picks up win #8 and is again tied for the league lead in wins. Who'd have thunk it? You go Moose!
The offense had an all-around good night at the plate. The lone exception being Derek Jeter. Talk about a slump. The Captain is 3 for his last 37. That's crazy. I still have to think it has something to do with an injured hand maybe, but Jeter is a gamer and he's going to play everyday. If is he by chance hurt and not saying anything, I hope he takes a good look at his recent performance and questions if he's helping the team by playing. Don't be a hero Jeet. I respect your desire to play and win, but if you're hurting the team by playing, consider a day off or two. The Yankees racked up 16 hits last night and 12 came off the bats of Abreu, A-Rod, Matsui, and Melky, each with 3 hits a piece. Abreu had a monster night at the dish, 3 for 4 with 2 triples and 4 runs scored. He's hitting just south of .300. You'd think though that the Yankees would score more than 6 times if they racked up 16 hits? The Twins turned 3 DPs, made some great plays defensively (between the legs no look catch) and the Yankees definitely ran themselves out of some runs. They very easily could have lost that game. The pitching gets a lot of credit for picking them up.
The bullpen held its own in support of Moose. Kyle Farnsworth's season of inconsistency continued. Is he inconsistent or consistently bad? K-Farns has been pretty much the same type of pitcher since he's been in Pinstripes. He's has a few good games and a lot of bad ones. Granted, he bounced back after giving up a leadoff HR to Morneau, but he's till downright awful. Girardi needs to consider other options for the set=up role now that Joba is out of the picture. Right now, Edwar Ramirez is probably the best option. He's pitching lights out. they need to give him a shot. He's definitely earned it. And thank God for Mariano Rivera. How many times have we Yankee fans said that? A ground out to the pitcher and 2 Ks to close it out and save the win. Vintage Mo. He totally got hosed on the walk. That was strike 3 in my book. No biggie though with Mo on the mound. He'll just strike out the next 2 batter. Ball game over.
Chien-Ming Wang goes tonight against Boof Bonser. The Yanks are again sitting at .500 and this is probably their best shot to get above that plateau. The Yankees have hit Boof very well the 2 times they faced him. 15 hits and 11 runs in 2 starts. They're hitting .341 of him. I don't care what the naysayers say. Wang is an ace, a true #1. He can take a step forward in that argument by pitching like he can and putting this team above the .500 mark. That's what aces do. I don't want to jinx anything but I'm liking our chances tonight.
Peace, love and Pinstripes,
Saturday, May 31, 2008
The Yankees beat the Twins last night 6-5 and I found myself very frustrated watching the game. How do those guys manage only 6 runs when they rack up 16 hits? That came should have been a blow out. Had they lost, I'd have gone through the roof.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
It's voting time, and I'm not referring to the All Star Game. Major League Baseball Productions in conjunction with A&E Video are asking Yankees fans to vote for 5 games they would like to see released in a DVD set titled "Essential Games Of Yankees Stadium." The set will feature six classic games, 5 chosen by fans and 1 "mystery game" selected by producers. I was hoping we'd be treated to this as I saw that there are similar sets being released for Fenway Park and Shea Stadium.
The choices start with games in the late 70's, the 1st being game 5 of the 1976 ALCS (Chris Chambliss' HR clincher) and run through the July 1st, 2004 affair between with the Red Sox (Jeter's dive into the stands). There are 21 great games to choose from in all. You can click here for more info, and click here to vote. Voting closes on June 9th.
Here's what I voted for:
- July 1, 2004: The Dive (This was one of the best games ever)
- 2003 ALCS Game 7: Aaron Freakin' Boone
- July 18, 1999: David Cone's perfect game
- May 17, 1998: David Wells' perfect game
- August 6, 1979: The first game without the Captain
Feel free to share your choices.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
I don't often get to see many Wednesday games due to bar league softball. Lucky for me we had an early game (5:50pm) and it ended right at 7pm so I got to listen to/watch the entire game. It was a nice win. Anytime you win the last game of a series on the road and head into an off day, it's a good thing. It makes for a much nice flight. If only they held on to win last night's debacle. Stupid Hawkins.
Andy Pettitte pitched a good game. He started out a little shaky but settled down and pitched a good one. Some might say he pitched too well. He lasted 2 outs into the 7th which threw a little monkey wrench into Joba's night. I was expecting to see Joba pitch the 6th-8th innings but Pettitte was just too good. It would have more sense to me to have Joba pitch on the same day as Kennedy, but what can you do.
Joba pitched real well in his shortened outing. After he walked Markakis, he was pretty much untouchable. I'll say it again: I like Joba pitching out of the pen. I understand the obvious reasoning behind getting him into the rotation and I agree with a lot of them, but I just have a gut feeling that he should finish the year in the pen. Rumors are flying that Joba might get the start next week in place of the injured Kennedy. That would seem to make sense if you think about it. He'll probably be scheduled to throw 75-80 pitches, which would likely get him through 5 innings. He's not going to get in a solid 5 innings of relief in the big leagues. If they're not sending him down, let him start next week. Joba would likely get through more innings than Kennedy if he were starting anyway so no real loss there.
I was kind of surprised they brought Mariano out to pitch the 9th. It made more sense to me when I realized tomorrow was an off day, but considering Mo threw 2 innings yesterday and Joba needed the work, I thought they would have let Joba have a go at closing it out and have Mo waiting in the wings. Makes sense right? I think it all goes back to my earlier point. Winning the last game of a road series is always nice. I think Girardi really wanted the win and he wasn't going to risk losing it. Big win. And when you want to guarantee a big win, you got to Mo. Lights out.
All praise Giambi's 'stache. He raked another ball out onto Eutaw Street. The Big G is in the zone right now. It's hard to believe that a week and a half ago his average was below .200. He'll be at .250 in no time. This is the Jason Giambi we've been waiting for. Glad to have you back.
Derek Jeter is just plain awful right now. 3 hits in his last 9 games (3 for 30). I can't help but wonder if his hand is bothering him. You just don't expect a hitter of Jeter's caliber to stink so bad. Maybe it's time for him to look into a career hawking Ford Edges. I'm so sick of that commercial.
Tomorrow is an off day. Starting Friday the Yankees play 17 straight days. A day of rest might do these guys some good. They're back within a game of .500. I'm sick of writing that so far into the season. Last year after 53 games the boys were 23-30 and 13.5 games behind the Red Sox. 26-27 and 6 games out isn't all that bad. I've said this a lot this year: it could be a lot worse.
Enjoy the off day.
I'm starting this post during the rain delay. No need in staying up any later than I have to.
For starters, this delay should have started before Hideki Matsui even stepped into the box. I'd have to think the crew chief knew that he was going to halt the game in between innings. It makes no sense to me to allow the Yankees to bat in a potentially huge situation at such a huge disadvantage. Go ahead run on 3rd with 2 outs? Do the right thing and call the game there. Joe Girardi was absolutely in the right coming out and asking them to stop play. He knew the game was going to be stopped after the inning. Heck, my 9-month old son who is upstairs sleeping knew the game would be stopped. Like i said the right and fair thing to do was to stop the game and give the Yankees their fair shot.
Tonight was all about the longball. The 2 teams have combined for 9 dingers so far. Ross Ohlendorf tried real hard to imitate Chase Wright. Not the guy you want to mimic Ross.
Ian Kennedy and Ross Ohlendorf did an absolute horrible job tonight. The offense spotted each a 4 run lead and each gave it right back. You can't be doing that. Kennedy is apparently injured. It kind of reminds me of the kid in high school that claimed he was injured whenever he made an error. You know the guy. Nowadays he goes by the name "Softball Guy" or "Gym Class Hero." I prefer to call him Danny Mac. Just kidding bro. Making sure you're reading and paying attention. Ohlendorf hasn't exactly excelled in his role this year as the "longman." Ohlie has given up 9 ER in his last 3 outings -- 6 IP, 11 H, 9 ER, 4 HR. That's scary.
On the contrary, Edwar Ramirez and Kyle Farnsworth came in and closed the flood gates. Edwar has definitely stepped it up this year. He's still yet to give up an earned run in his 14 innings this year. If you factor in his numbers with Scranton, his line is 23 IP, 12 hits, 7 BB, and 28 K. That's pretty darn good. Looks like the advice he got from Mariano and Pedro Martinez is paying off. For those of you unfamiliar with the advice it was to establish the fastball before you bust out the change. Pete Abraham had a good little write-up about Edwar on his blog today. Had Edwar given up a run today, I guarantee Pete would have been flooded with e-mails about putting the whammy on him, Good thing that didn't happen. We can thank Bobby Abreu for that. Farnsworth has been pretty inconsistent this year. He's either pitched well or he's been absolutely terrible. He flirted with being terrible tonight. If not for a great throw by Bobby Abreu to nail the ever-so speedy Kevin Millar at the plate, K-Farns would have given up the go-ahead run and knocked Edwar with his 1st earned run of the season. The game in all likelihood would be over right now and I'd probably be sleeping, grumbling about another Yankees' loss.
The offense, for the most part, had a pretty good game tonight. The aforementioned longballs from Giambi, Damon, Abreu and A-Rod were the big highlights. Giambi has been an absolute madman at the plate since growing his luscious 'stache. Gold thongs. Mustaches. Hey whatever works, right? Johnny Damon was quite the spark plug tonight. As of now JD is 4 for 5 with 2 2B, 1 HR and 3 RBI. I've always said the team succeeds when Johnny is hot. If only our Captain could lay down a bunt. Jeter has been struggling lately. Counting his 4 ABs tonight, he's 2 for his last 25 with 1 failed bunt attempt and a key pickoff at 2nd base. Getting picked off with runners on 1st and 2nd and A-Rod at the plate? Not the thing you want to do. You know better than that Derek. Hideki Matsui is the goat of the night going 0-5. He hit the ball pretty hard to end the Yankees 9th. Who knows? If it weren't pouring cats and dogs maybe the outcome of that play is different. Maybe he'll get another shot at it if this game goes extras.
As I type this, it's now 10 minutes to 11 and it's still a rain delay. It's been about 40 minutes. The rest of this blog will be a "live blog."
It's 11:10, the tarp is off the field and the legendary Mariano Rivera is on the field taking his warmups. I get the feeling Joe Girardi does not want to lose this game. Blowing two 4 run leads and dropping back to 2 games below .500 would be a big blow to the confidence of the team. It won't by any means be a nail in the coffin but this is a game the Yankees shouldn't lose.
It's 11:13 and we're off. I get the sinking feeling that this game ends real soon. Mo is great but it's been that kind of night. To quote the legendary Fabrice Morvan and Rob Pilatus, "blame it on the rain." Yeah, I just went there.
11:16-Mo just whiffed Markakis. Have a seat bub.
11:18-Mo just whiffed Aubrey Huff looking. Have a seat next to your buddy Nick.
11:20-Mo got a pop out for the 3rd out. It turns out that sinking feeling was just gas. Microwave popcorn doused in black pepper and garlic powder will do that to you. Try it. It's yummy yummy. Mo is awesome.
11:22- The mustachioed Giambino just grounded out to short. Curse you evil shift.
11:24- Perennial Gold Glove winner Wilson Betemit just hit a 1-out single. Let's go Robbie Cano.
11:27- Oh Robbie. There you go again, swinging at ball four. Show some plate discipline my friend. You're lucky it wasn't an inning-ending DP. At least now if we go to the 11th, Johnny D will leadoff.
11:30- Molina flew out to CF. I didn't see that coming. Where's Wil Nieves when you need him? Oh yeah, he's in Washington hitting .320. I'd still take Jose any day.
11:32- Mo is out for inning #2 and I still have gas.
11:32a- Millar rounds to Jeter on 1 pitch.
11:34- Winning run is on 2nd. The Giambino would have had that ball easy. Horrible defensive positioning by Wilson Betemit. Wilson Betemit = defensive liability.
11:37- Mo picked up his 3rd K of the night. If only Roger Dorn was on the team. He could walk to the mound and give Mo some sound advice. Strike this mofo out!
11:40- Mo just unintentionally intentionally walked Jay Payton on 4 straight pitches. Mo would never unintentionally throw 4 straight out of the zone.
11:41- Sorry that it smells in here. Oooh wee.
11:42- B-Rob just flew out to CF. Yay, more baseball, he says sarcastically.
11:46- Leadoff walk to Johnny D! Leadoff walks usually don't bode well for the defense. Just ask Mo Rivera, Kevin Millar and Dave Roberts.
11:47- Ouch. Bad form Orioles. 1)Mora should have let the ball roll. 2)More should have eaten the throw. I'm glad I'm not an O's fan.
11:48- 4 straight wide ones to Abreu. Bases juiced. No outs. A-Rod. Can you smell what the Rod is cooking?
11:49- Are you kidding me? Did I just saw what I think I saw? I did. I did. I did see a puttytat, I mean a 4-2-5 DP. That's a new way to kill a rally.
11:51- Did I call it or did I call it? I said above that maybe Matsui would get another shot if this game goes extras. Check the transcript. It's there. He came through in the clutch. Yanks lead 9-8. Suck on that rain.
11:53- The Big G whiffed to end the Yankees' half of the 11th. That inning had so much potential. At least they came away with 1 run.
11:54- I get it. Derek Jeter has an Edge. Enough already. I miss Giuseppe Franco.
11:55- LaTroy is on for the save. Yikes. If only Joba were still in the pen. I don't like this plan.
11:59- Leadoff single to Mora. This will be interesting. That sinking feeling is back again. I don't think it's gas this time.
12am- Warning track power there by Markakis. I thought that was the ball game.
12:01- Son of a monkey. Tie game. Winning run is on 3rd. Is anyone really surprised at what's transpired? Again I ask
12:02 & 12:03 - 2 free passes and the bags are full with 1 down.
12:05- Well, it wasn't gas this time. Ball game over. Way to go LaTroy. Nicely done.
Nothing is worse than staying up really late and then losing. I said a few days ago that working Joba into the rotation was not the move to make at this time. Consider this: Joba in all likelihood would have pitched tonight. Assuming he did, we're probably looking at a different ending. Joba probably would have also pitched in yesterday's loss as well. Joba in. Hawkins and Veras out. The Yankees probably don't lose 6-1. I'm not saying the Yankees would have won either game, but it's just something to think about. LaTroy Hawkins = really bad. I'm disgusted. I'm tired. I have to be up in 6.5 hours. It would have been a much nicer sleep if Hawkins did his job. At least he won't pitch tomorrow.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I have a serious problem and I'm not sure what to do about it. They say admitting you have a problem is the first step to getting help. It's not something I'm proud to admit but here goes.........
I'm addicted to The Wiggles! My 9-month old son loves them. He could be sitting on the floor playing with some toys facing away from the TV but as soon as he hears the beginning lyrics of the theme song, "It's the Wiggles. It's the Wiggles," he whips his head around and devotes all of his attention to the 4 guys in yellow, blue, red, and purple. And now I find myself equally as enthralled as my son is. We just downloaded about 40 Wiggles songs and burned them to a CD for him, and I of course put them on my iPod. I'll tell people it's on there in case my son is in the car with me, but I know the truth. I found myself dialing up the playlist on my way to work today, bopping and singing along to their catchy tunes. I even find myself signing their songs as I walk around the building here at work. "Fruit Salad. Yummy yummy." Curse those 4 mates from Australia and their infectious grooves. My name is Jay, and I'm a Wigglyholic.
Monday, May 26, 2008
If you can't hit and can't score, you can only do one thing.....lose. The offense, with the exception of Hideki Matsui, gets the blame for this loss. Darrell Rasner again had a superb outing and showed everyone again that he is more than deserving of a spot in the rotation. D-Raz pitched well enough to win but the offense failed him. That's happened more times this year than I'd like to count. The offense was just non-existent today. I thought they would have fared a little better against Olson, especially considering how well they did against him less than a week ago. It would have been real nice to get on the positive side of .500, but what can you do?
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Now that was a fun game to watch. I was a little animated during the 8th inning rally. Jumping up and down, slamming kitchen cupboard doors, some Joba-esque fist pumps and twirls. It's a good thing my wife and son were out because things got a little crazy. Unlike a lot of the previous games this season, I couldn't write the Yankees off when they were behind late because they're a much better looking team now then they were just a few short days ago. What a great win! A nice way to end the homestand and to get back to the 500 mark. Ball game over. Yankees win. Thuhhhhhh Yankees win!
Chien-Ming Wang pitched worse than I expected but he still pitched well enough where on most days the Yankees offense will get him enough runs to win. Wang hasn't exactly benefited from much run support this year. I think this is the 3rd game I can recall where he pitched well enough to win but came up short. At least the team bailed him out and he didn't get sacked with the loss. Wang struggled a little bit with his control. He had a season high 4 walks today and he's been walking quite a few hitters in his recent outings. This is his 4th straight game issuing 3 walks or more. That stretch marks the 2nd time in his career he's walked at least 3 a game in a 4 game stretch. He needs to regain a little of the control. But he kept the team in the game which allowed them to eventually claw their way back into it and pull out the victory.
Edwar Ramirez has been quite a surprise this year. He's now thrown 12.2 scoreless innings this year, allowing 13 baserunners on 6 hits and 7 walks, but he's neutralized the opponents by picking up 15 Ks. I was skeptical when the season started about Edwar's ability to pitch at the major league level but he's erased all those doubts. I would have no problems making him the set up man.
God bless Mariano Rivera. Best. Closer. Ever. 'Nuff said.
Outside of the 8th inning there wasn't much to get excited about from n offensive standpoint today. As I blogged after last night's game, the Yankees have never really hit Jarrod Washburn. Washburn pretty much had their number again today. The Yankees did today what they've been so good at doing in years past but have failed to do most of this year and that's hit the opposing team's bullpen. I think this is the Yankees 1st win this season when trailing after 7 innings. The 8th inning was really exciting. I'm glad to see that they've gotten away from swinging for the fences and worked more on keeping the line moving. It's something I've talked about quite a few times this year. The 8th inning today was a perfect example of what I mean. We're starting to see more and more of it and it's no coincidence that it coincides with a 5 game winning streak.
The slingshot is officially on. You couldn't ask for a better way to end the current homestand. A come from behind win. A 5 game winning streak. A 500 record. And an offense that's finally hitting the ball. The slingshot is in full effect. This team has to be real confident right now. D-Raz looks to extend the winning streak tomorrow with a Memorial Day matinee in Baltimore. The O's are in the midst of a 5 game losing streak of their own so the Yankees really have momentum on their side for this upcoming series. Things are really starting to look up.
Peace, love and Pinstripes,
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Is it me or did today's Yankees game have a lot of similarities to yesterday's Yankees game? Maybe the pitching wasn't as good but the offense was just as popping. The result? A 12-6 victory. The Yanks have now won 4 straight and a win tomorrow would put them back at the .500 mark.
Everything would seem to indicate the Yankees offense has worked through their issues. 35 runs in 4 games. That will move you up the stats ladder real quick. This is what we've been waiting for. This is what the team is capable of. It's good to finally see it on a somewhat consistent basis. Cano and Giambi again had huge days at the plate. Cano was a perfect 4 for 4 and Giambi racked up 3 hits and was a triple shy of the cycle. Both have been super hot lately raising their averages into the .230 range. Despite a 4 for 4 day, Giambi still has Cano beat by 2 percentage points. I never thought I'd be saying that this far into the season. For the second game in a row, every starter had at least 1 hit with the exception of Derek Jeter. I'll take it. You can tell these guys are on because a lot of balls are being hit to the opposite field. Am I the only one noticing that?
As I blogged yesterday, as long as Moose could make it thru 5 with the lead, he'd probably be in line to pick up the W. Moose wasn't sharp by any means but he doesn't have to be if the offense can keep doing what they've been doing. I love seeing Moose win ballgames and climb a little bit higher up the career wins ladder. If you've read this blog before you may have caught that I'm a card-carrying member of the Mike Mussina fan club. Moose is definitely won of my favorite pitchers. I love his approach to the game and I love watching him pitch. He's struggled a little bit over the last 2 seasons but I still think he's got what is needed to win ball games. I really hope he gets the call to the Hall when the time comes. He's deserving.
Joba pitched alright in his second "let's stretch him out to be a starter" outing. I wasn't overly impressed with his control. Joba has had recent control issues. He's walked 6 in his last 7 innings. He can make up for it by striking hitters out but it's not a good sign. As he integrates more pitches into his repertoire he'll only get wilder. While I agree he should be a starter, I still think the timing is wrong. I would have left him in the pen all season, but who am I? I don't think he'll encounter the same success as a starter that he's had as a reliever. But we'll see.
The Yanks look to win their 5th straight tomorrow and who better to have on the mound than Chien-Ming Wang. He's matched up Jarrod Washburn, yet another left-handed pitcher. It seems like every pitcher the Yankees face is a lefty. The Yankees have a league high 542 ABs against LHPs. Compare that to the Red Sox who are 12th in the AL with 291 ABs against LHPs. Washburn has had pretty good success against the Yanks in his career. He's 5-5 lifetime against the Yanks win an ERA of 2.52. He's having a pretty bad year. JW is 2-6 with an ERA just under 7. The Yanks are only hitting .242 as a team against lefties this year. But confidence has to be at a high based on the recent offensive explosion. I don't really know what to expect. All I know is Wang is on the hill and he's the ace. Offense or no offense, the Yanks should be in the ball game.
The A's just finished 1-hitting the Red Sox. 1 game under .500. 5.5 back. Things could be worse.
Peace, love and Pinstripes,
Friday, May 23, 2008
Never in a million years would I have expected tonight's game to go the way it did. 13 runs on 13 hits. 8 runs in one inning. Getting to Erik Bedard, one of the game's best lefties, for 9 runs. Un-freakin-believable. Great game. Great win. 3 games into the slingshot. They're on a mini-roll.
The offense was clicking tonight. I don't even know who to start with. I was very surprised that Shelley Duncan connected for a longball. A day after I bag on him for being not very good he goes deep for a 3-run bomb. I still don't think he's very good. I've said a few times that he's bound to get a few HRs. But he'll fail more than he'll succeed. He's kind of like Rob Deer, but worse. He looked lost on a few pitches. He's been way out in front of a lot of pitches this year. Tonight he had one of the biggest misses I've ever seen. Regardless, it was nice to see him connect to put the Yanks out front.
Jason Giambi has been swinging a real hot bat lately. He picked up 2 hits tonight and raised his average to .217. It was his 5th multi-hit game in the last 11 games he's played in. One of those games was a pinch-hit appearance so it's pretty much in his last 10 games. His average has risen 67 points since May 4th. Since 5/4, he's appeared in 13 games and is 14 for 40. That's a .350 average for those of you without calculators. The Big G is bringing it. You can tell he's on when he laces a double into the left field corner. He and Robbie Cano are battling for the lowest average on the team for the regulars. Giambi has Cano beat .217 to .214. Cano has been doing well lately also. He also got things going around the same time as Giambi. Since 5/3, Robbie has raised his average 64 points. He's appeared in 16 games since 5/3 and is 20 for 60 in that span. You should be able to do the math there. They're coming around and that's a good sign.
I was particularly impressed that the Yankees did so well without hitting any longballs, other than Duncan's. I've said before they look like they're swinging for the fences way too much. Keep the line moving and the runs will pile up. Tonight was a prime example of that. The 5th inning was by far their best offensive inning of the year. Everybody with the exception of Duncan was getting in on the action. Great inning. I hope we see more of it.
Andy Pettitte had a great outing. He was on point with his control. No walks. 9 Ks. You can't do much better than that. I didn't think Andy had that in him but he's been striking out a lot of hitters lately. In his last 4 games, he's sent down 27 batters in 22.1 IPs. Wow. At one point he had thrown 1st pitch strikes to 18 of the first 22 batters. First pitch strikes are so important. If you can pitch ahead in the count you're going to do well. Andy did it all night and the result was his 4th victory of the season. He finally avenged his 4th inning demons. Andy pitched a good one. Now it's Moose's turn.
Mike Mussina gets the call tomorrow against Carlos Silva. The M's scratched Felix Hernandez from his start which works out well for the Yanks. They were originally scheduled to face Silva on Sunday but they get him a day early. The Yankees rocked him when the teams last met. Silva lasted 3 innings and gave up 8 runs on 11 hits. Maybe we'll see a repeat of tonight's game. I don't think any of us would mind that. Joba is scheduled to pitch tomorrow so if Moose can get through 5 with the lead the Yanks should be in good shape. He pitched well against them when he faced them on May 3rd. For those that don't remember or are too lazy to look up the game log, Moose went 6 innings and gave up 1 run. The Yanks won that game 6-1. A win tomorrow would pull the team to within a game of .500. Go get 'em Moose.
Peace, love and Pinstripes,
Thursday, May 22, 2008
That was quite the 9th inning. Joe Girardi comes up and throws a hissy fit after a questionable foul-tip strikeout of Jason Giambi. Abreu works a pinch-hit walk and Robbie Cano (Don't Ya Know) comes through in the clutch with a game-winning walk off single to left. It's real nice to see these guys finally have an on-the-field post game celebration. We're 2 games into the slingshot. Who would have thought that they would have rode Ian Kennedy's arm to victory?
Ian Kennedy. It's about time. We've been waiting patiently all year for you to throw a decent game and you finally delivered. It only took you 8 starts. The turning point of his outing was definitely the 3rd inning K of Nick Markakis with the bases loaded. That was huge. I thought to myself after that whiff that it would be Kennedy's turning point. That had to be a huge confidence boost for IPK. He wasn't exactly on point with his control but pitched well nonetheless. If only the offense could have scratched across another run. Ike deserved the W.
Ah the offense. Still terrible. Is it me or does every opposing starting pitcher seem to last into the 7th or 8th inning every game? Opposing starters have gone at least 7 innings in 7 of the last 9 games. And in 1 of the 2 they didn't, they went 6 innings. I've said it quite a few times this year. The Yankees aren't playing their game. They're being very aggressive at the plate and the approach isn't working. They've gotten away from working counts. They've gotten away from running up pitch counts. Am I the only one noticing this? Cano saw 6 pitches tonight in his 4 at-bats. Robbie has always been a free swinger but he needs to show some plate discipline. Jeter is another prime example. Jeet has walked on average once every 5 games this year. Last year he picked up a walk once every 2.79 games. His OBP is down 40 points. Bobby Abreu is another example. Walks per game this year 2.81, Last year, 1.89. A-Rod? This year, 1 walk every 4.33 games. Last year, 1.66. They're definitely more aggressive and like I said, it doesn't appear to be working. Patience my friends. Patience.
I'm becoming increasingly agitated with Shelley Duncan. I've never been high on Shelley and watching him swing at a pitch over his head just makes me more down on him. Don't get me wrong, he's exciting to watch at times, but he doesn't belong in the majors. He's the quintessential 4-A player. Too good for AAA, not good enough for the bigs. He doesn't look like he has any balance at the plate. He often ends up in the other batter's box after a swing. not a good approach. Sure he'll run into the occasional home run, but more often that not, he's going to come up empty. Shelley is now hitting .182. I'm not sure what the Yanks see in him. I don't get it.
The bullpen did a stellar job tonight. Veras gave up a single to the first batter he faced. After that it was smooth sailing as the trio of Veras, K-Farns and Mo sent the O's down in order. I'll admit I was a little nervous see Farnsworth pitch in the 8th inning of a tie game. I thought for sure the theme of this post would have to do with the move of Joba to the rotation backfiring right out of the gate. I'll bet the Yankees' brass issued a huge sigh of relief after he mowed them down 1-2-3. I was particularly impressed he sent them down on a mere 7 pitches. Way to go K-Farns. And Mo was of course typical Mo. Ball game over. Yankees win. The Yankees win.
I think it's a safe bet that the ball did glance off Giambi's bat in the 9th inning and he was rightfully called out on strikes. I don't think the ump saw it though. It looked to me like he thought was a ball inside. How else can you explain the long delay between the ball hitting the mitt and the actual strike call. It was a little odd that he made the call after Ramon Hernandez tried to sell it as hitting the bat. Joe Girardi was definitely in the right coming out and going berserk. That was pretty fun to watch. Very reminiscent of Sweet Lou. Man Joe looked ticked. It worked out well. I think it was the perfect opportunity to come out and fire up his team. I'm not sure it had an impact on tonight's win but we might see these guys play with a little more intensity and not appear as flat as they've been playing. Way to go skip.
It's sad that we get so excited over a 2 game winning streak but I'll take it. They've played like garbage lately and picking up a series win against a divisional opponent is never a bad thing. We might be catching a break here as the lowly Mariners are coming to town, owners of the worst record in the AL. It may not be as easy as it sounds as they're drawing Erik Bedard and King Felix in the 1st 2 games of the series. The Yanks lit up Hernandez in their last meeting. It would be real nice to see them do it again. I'd feel a little better about things if they had hit the ball tonight. We'll see. Games aren't played on paper so anything is possible.
Peace, love and Pinstripes,
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
I was not impressed with anything I saw tonight. Allow me to explain. Tonight was the start of bar league softball. We usually draw the 7:10pm start which means I don't see much Yankees baseball on Wednesday nights. By the time our game ended tonight, the score in the Yankees game was 6-0 and the 5th inning had just ended. My drive home is about 45 minutes and by the time I get home and take a shower, the game is just about over. I caught the tail end of the game. And since i missed all the action, I can't be impressed with what I didn't see.
If you didn't watch the game on YES then you missed some big news after the game. Joe Girardi was the on-the-field post-game interview. Joe mentioned that tonight marked the beginning of getting Joba ready for the rotation. They let him go 2 innings to stretch him out a little bit. I wonder if this directive is being handed down from above. You know Hank can't be happy with the current state of the Yankees. He's made his feelings about Joba becoming a starter known to everyone. It looks like Big Bank Hank is getting his wish a lot earlier than everyone expected. How cool would it be to be in the Yankees inner circle? I picture Hank chewing out Cashman and Girardi like his dad did with Billy Martin when he wanted Reggie Jackson to bat 4th. I think moving Joba to the rotation this early is a panic move. Personally, I'd rather see the Yankees wait until next season. Keep his innings down. We've all heard time and time again that youngsters who throw over a certain amount of innings are more likely to develop issues. If Joba is as good as everyone thinks he is, don't rush it. Assuming he slides into the rotation next month, I guess that leaves Ian Kennedy on the outs? You'd have to assume with Darrell Rasner pitching the way he is that Ike is the odd man out. I'm fine with that. He's not ready yet.
I think it's safe to say D-Raz has earned a spot in the rotation. I wonder if his intent tonight was to send a message to Girardi: I'll show you to skip my spot in the rotation. I caught some of the game on the radio during my drive home and was impressed with what I heard. Who wouldn't be impressed with 7 shutout innings? He picked up his 3rd win, dropped his ERA to 1.89, and most importantly gave the Yankee bullpen a much needed night off. Last night the pen throws 8+. Tonight, Joba goes 2 after a 3 day layoff. No harm done. Way to go D-Raz. Taking care of business.
The offense finally had a good night. 8 runs on 13 hits. I'd love to be able to declare that the offense is back but it's waaaay to early to even think that they have. I think it's safe to say that A-Rod is back. 3-for-4 with another HR, his 2nd in 2 games. I saw the replay of what should have been his 3rd HR. It looked pretty obvious to me on the replay. Not sure how that was missed. MLB and the owners definitely need to look into instant replay. I'm only in favor of IR in the case of reviewing a HR. That's the only time it should be used. It's such a big play int he game how can it not be? We've now seen 2 blown HR calls in 3 games at the Stadium. i hope they take a hard look at it. It was nice to see Cano chime in with a multi-hit game. It was a good time for me to take him out of my fantasy lineup. I'll take one for the team and leave him out for the time being. Abreu and Damon also came through with 2 hits a-piece. This team definitely fares a lot better when Johnny Damon does well at the plate. He's definitely a catalyst. All in all not a bad night offensively. I can't get too excited because this is what they should be doing on a regular basis. We've seen them put up a good game quite a few times, only to put together a string of horrendous performances. I'll get excited if they can score 5 runs or more for 4 straight games and more importantly, winning.
Not a bad post for someone who didn't see much of the action. Ian Kennedy is on the mound tomorrow. That's always an adventure. Not a bad night for Rasner to go 7. If Kennedy pulls off one of his "typical" outings, we'll need fresh arms in the bullpen. A 2 game winning streak would be nice right about now.
Peace, love and Pinstripes,
ps- Joe Girardi is saying in his post-game interview that the plan all along was to get Joba ready for the rotation at this time in the season. Yeah, I'm not buying it. It's a panic move. This wouldn't be happening if the Yankees' fortunes were a little better.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
The Yanks dug themselves quite the hole tonight. Down 7 after the top of the 1st. Considering they haven't been able to come back from a deficit larger than 2 runs this year, I didn't see them coming back. I'm not even sure there was a reason to watch the game after the 1st but I stuck with it. I did flip to American Idol for like 2 seconds. I watched maybe 10 minutes of it all year. Not a big fan. That little pipsqueak David Archawhatever bugs me.
You can hang this loss on Derek Jeter. There's no excuse for that high throw to Giambi. That was the typical routine grounder and he botched it. So a 1-0 game quickly turns into a 7-0 game, an insurmountable deficit for an anemic offense. Horrible play. I guess Cano wasn't at the bag for the easy flip, but still, you have to make that throw. It was routine. Moose has to pick the team up after a play like that. Walking the next batter isn't what a pitcher of Moose's talent should do. I thought there were some questionable calls there by the home plate ump, but what can you do? That's baseball. It does seem though that Moose gets squeezed more than anybody else. I'm not sure if it was Michael Kay or Ken Singleton that remarked that tonight's home plate ump is known to be inconsistent. I heard that and I knew Moose wasn't even for a good night. Never did I imagine him getting chased before getting 3 outs. But like I said, hang that on the Captain. He has to make that play.
Speaking of El Captain, it was great to see him ground into a DP after Damon's leadoff single in the 1st. That's how the ball has been bouncing. And of course, as soon as Alex comes back, Jeter gets beaned on the wrist and leaves the game. The Baseball Gods hate the Yankees right now.
Speaking of bad bounces, Johnny Damon butchered a fly ball, a ball that what would have been the 3rd out of the 2nd inning. 9-0 O's after 2. 8 unearned runs. You knew it was going to be one of those nights.
It was nice to see A-Rod go yard in his 1st game back. Too bad the game was long over when it happened. The offense was again pitiful. What's new?
This game could very well be rock bottom. Can it get any worse than this? I don't think so. That only means one thing. They can only go up from here. This could be a very embarrassing loss. It could be the kind of loss that kicks their collective asses into gear. I really hoped they'd get blown out and they did. Hopefully tomorrow starts the slingshot. Coincidentally, the first time we talked about the slingshot here at B and The BD, it was after a 12-2 loss to the Orioles back in August 2006. Could this be history repeating? Knock on wood.
Keep the faith. There's still time.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
You think I'd be used to crappy performance after crappy performance by now. It's getting ridiculous to watch. The Yankees right now are flat out boring. It's difficult to watch. I can't be the only one out there that assumes once they give up 4 runs that the game is over, regardless of the inning. It's pitiful to watch such a potent lineup go out and do nothing.
Oliver Perez owns the Yankees. 3 straight wins against them. And he's not that good. Just another case of a marginal pitcher owning the Yanks. Absolutely horrible. I think it's pretty safe to say that the Yankees are not built to beat left-handers. It should get better when A-Rod and Jorge return but I'm starting to have my doubts.
Bobby Abreu is really ticking me off. When he struck out looking with 1 out and a runner on 3rd in the 5th inning I wanted to throw my remote control through the TV. He's just one of the many bats that we need to wake up! He's 3 for his last 18. During the ESPN broadcast, Jon Miller mentioned that Bobby Abreu has the best arm on the team. I'm nor sure Miller watches baseball sometimes. Abreu should have gunned down David Wright on Alou's 7th inning sac fly. As soon as I saw Wright break for home I thought they had him. But there's Bobby making an absolutely horrible throw. He also should have thrown out Ryan Church but the throw was offline. It could have been an entirely different game had he made those throws. Who am I kidding? They still wouldn't have scored. They had 3 measly hits.
There inability to hit when they need to is remarkable. Matsui lined out with 2 out and a runner on 2nd in the 1st. Melky and Alberto failed to get Giambi home from 2nd in the 2nd. Melky and Alberto failed to get Cano home from scoring position in the 4th. Damon, Abreu and Jeter all fail to score Molina from scoring position in the 5th. Cano grounds into a DP in the 6th. No hits from the 5th inning on. The lack of clutch/timely hitting on this team astounds me.
Chien-Ming Wang pulled an Andy Pettitte and melted down in the 4th inning. Wang was perfect through 3 and then the roof caved in. The 4th inning was such a crappy inning to watch. The inning went south when he walked Beltran. Giambi makes a great stop and makes a horrible throw to 2nd pulling Jeter from the bag. You've got to get the out there. The play was to first. You'd think Giambi would know he can't make that throw. Why try? Alou then accidentally hits a 2-run single. Weak. That inning should have never been that bad. If it's not the offense failing Wang, it's the defense. But that's baseball. Wang needed to take care of business and he couldn't quite get it done. The walk to Beltran killed him. I thought Wang pitched alright. not good enough to win, but better than his pitching line indicates. And big thanks to Ross Ohlendorf for totally having Wang's back. Not.
My buddy, who is a Mets fan, sent me a text message calling for the umpire's head for reversing the Delgado HR call. That's baseball. Every team is going to benefit from blown calls. As much as it sucks when it happens to your team, you'll eventually reap the benefits of bad umpiring. It's to be expected when you rely on the human eye to make those calls. If they ever bring in instant replay, it should only be on potential home runs. I wanted to text him back and tell him not to worry because the Yankees weren't going to score 3 runs anyway but I didn't want to drop the dime on the text. Am I the only one who wanted to mute the TV when miller and Morgan went on for what seemed like forever about the fair pole? Shut up already.
I have to think that if Hank Steinbrenner were watching the game he has to be thoroughly pissed and embarrassed that the Mets fans basically ran the Yankees fans out of the building. I now the volume of Mets fans is expected to be high since the two teams play a few miles apart from each other, but you can't have that in Yankee Stadium. You could hear the Mets fans all game. But listening to them roar with 2 outs in the 9th was ridiculous. I'm curious if there will be any Hank quotes on this, assuming he was paying attention.
The Yankees now need my boy Mike Mussina to be the stopper. Even if Moose is totally on I think the Yanks will be in for a battle as they are going up against Daniel Cabrera. Cabrera is no slouch and he's already pitched well against the Yankees this year. I think Moose will do well Tuesday but I don't see much coming from the offense. They really need Alex and Jorge back in the lineup. Thankfully Alex is back.
Sadly, it probably won't do a bit of good. Enjoy the off day.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Beating Johan Santana is never an easy task. It's even more difficult when the reigning MVP and arguably the best offensive catcher in the game are sidelined with injuries. The cards were stacked against the Yanks today and despite a late run, they fell short, dropping the series opener to their crosstown rivals by a score of 7-4.
I don't get Andy Pettitte. In my opinion he's pitching alright but he runs into one inning every game, usually the 4th or 5th inning, where he totally melts down and the team can't recover from the damage. Today was no different, though he didn't get hit hard when he gave up 3 4th inning runs. He looked great out of the box. His 1st 5 outs came on strikeouts and the 6th on a classic Andy Pettitte pickoff. He was dealing and he had my hopes running high. Things looked good and then he hit a rough patch of road which has been a staple of his last few outings. Andy has now lost 4 straight and his ERA has risen almost 2 full points (2.45 to 4.42) in his last 5 outings. I'd like to say he's tiring and running out of gas but he was able to last a full 6 innings today despite a high pitch count, and he pitched rather effectively in his last 2 innings. Whatever his deal is I hope he works it out.
The bullpen has been great lately, keeping the team in ballgames and allowing them to keep the score close. Kyle Farnsworth has been part of that good run but today, not so much. He got shell-shocked today. In his 1 inning of work he gave up 3 hits, 1 BB and 2 dingers. That's the K-Farns we've all come to know and hate. I don't quite agree with booing him off the field as he's done quite well all year. I kind of like to think the fans were getting on him because of the whole "Subway Series" thing. There's no sugar coating it though, he sucked. The game was over as soon as the 2nd HR cleared the fence.
I'm kind of surprised the Yanks managed 4 runs of Santana with how they've been doing lately. Jeter hit an absolute bomb off him in the 1st. I didn't see that coming. The Captain had a great day at the dish, 3-4 w/2 RBI. I'm not sure what he was thinking trying to stretch that single into a double. It wasn't even close and you could tell he was done for as soon as they showed him rounding first. We really need Jorge and Alex back in the lineup. No doubt in my mind that they would have won today with those 2 in the lineup. I like Molina, Shelley, Moeller and Alberto, but come on, there's no comparison. You knew that there was no way that Shelley Duncan or Morgan Ensberg were going to come through in the 9th. Duncan tries too hard to hit dingers and Ensberg just isn't very good. Get well real soon guys. We need ya.
I think a lot of the Yankees offensive woes can be attributed to the aggressive approach they all seem to be taking at the plate. What happened to taking pitches, working walks, getting pitching counts up, and exploiting bad bullpens? There have been way too many 1st pitch outs this year. Take Jeter for example. He finished last year with a .322 avg and an on-base percentage of .388, a 66 point difference. Coming into today's game he was hitting .302 with an OBP of .335, a 33 point difference. Jeter is walking on average once every 6 games. Last year he walked once in every 2.79 games. He's striking out once every 2.11 games. Last year he struck out once in every 1.56 games. See where I'm going with this? He's being pretty aggressive at the plate, and while he's hitting for a decent average, he's not playing his typical ball game. None of them really appear to be. It was ridiculous watching Santana get out of the 4th and 5th innings on like 6 pitches each. I may not be exact in the pitch total but if you saw the game, you know what I'm talking about. Pettitte was on the hill for 20+ minutes in the 4th inning. Santana's 4th inning lasted about 2.5 minutes. They need to get back to what worked. I wonder if this is a Joe Girardi thing? I'm curious if he's pushing the aggressive approach. Kevin Long needs to get these guys back into that mindset because what they're doing now isn't working.
The Yankees are extremely lucky to be only 5 our right now. It's by no means an insurmountable lead. They're a very capable team. For some unknown reason they like to play like crap for almost 2 months and then kick it into overdrive. Why can't they just once play consistently good baseball? The Yanks need a huge outing tomorrow from Chien-Ming Wang. Wang has been great all year. The offense owes him. He should be 8-0 but thanks to a lack of run support he's an imperfect 6-1. They should be able to hit Oliver Perez, but they should be able to hit a lot of guys they don't. Every game is an adventure.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
What a horrible series. The Yanks looked absolutely terrible against the Tampa Bay Rays. Today's series finale was no different. The Yankees managed to score 6 runs in the 4 game series. 6 runs? For all intents and purposes the Yankees averaged 6 runs a game last year (5.975 if I did the math right). They are absolutely horrible. To quote Daffy Duck, "It's desssssspicable."
I didn't think Ian Kennedy pitched as bad as he did before, but he still managed to increase his ERA from 8.37 to 8.48. W. T. F? I just don't get it. He had a pretty good balls to strike ratio. He only walked one. I kind of liked what I saw, but it still wasn't good. We need better.
Speaking of needing better, score some freakin' runs guys. I know we currently without some big guns in the lineup but come on, 6 runs in 4 games? Pathetic. What really stings is that the Yankees managed to outhit the Rays today. They're just not stringing it together. Johnny Damon's bat has cooled incredibly. 1-18. That's not what we need from our leadoff hitter. When Johnny's on, the team seems to be on, and they seem to win. It all starts at the top. Pete Abraham has some pretty interesting stats on his blog:
* The Yankees are hitting .229 against lefties.
* They’ve scored six runs in the last 42 innings.
* They were outscored 15-6 in this series.
* Johnny Damon was 1 for 18 in the series.
* They drew 10 walks in four games against Tampa Bay.
Pretty. Frickin'. Horrible. They're have been some bright spots. It's too bad that each game only has 1 or 2 shining stars. We need 5-7 guys cranking, something that they're capable of. Tuesday can't get here soon enough.
The pitching looks pretty good right now. Wang, Moose and Rasner all had great last outings and have been good all year. Pettitte will be Pettitte. The 5th spot in the rotation is ugly. The starters ERA in May is 3.45 (not including today). The bullpen has even been extremely solid as of late, all year really. These stats do not include today's 4 inning no run performance but the Yankee bullpen has a season ERA of 3.30, 4th best in the AL (.01 behind Minnesota). They're solid. Pitching isn't the problem. the offense is what blows. If the offense can get it going consistently, this team will do alright. Despite being in the cellar, I still think things will get better. Alex comes back soon. Thank God. Get Ensberg out of here. I love Jose Molina but his bat is nothing compared to Jorge. The injuries have hurt but that's baseball. The hole they're digging is nothing they can't get out of. I heard Michael Kay say something on his radio show. I'm not a big Kay fan but this made sense. He said that most guys will likely end up performing like their stats on the backs of their baseball cards. If a guy's a .300 hitter, he probably won't hit .200 all year, i.e. Robinson Cano. This team is chock full of solid, consistent above average performers, and you know that there is no way this offensive slump will continue for long. It will balance out in the end. When it starts swinging in an upward direction, watch out.
It's time for interleague play. I'm not a big fan because some teams make out better than others. I understand "rivalry week" and all but it definitely can give a team an unfair advantage in the schedule department. It's good for the game, but has some drawbacks. They have to face Johan Santana tomorrow night. I wouldn't be surprised if he throws a perfect game with the way they're hitting. Truly pathetic.
Come on boys, start hitting the ball!
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Mooooooooooooooooooooooooooosssssssse! That's my boy. Anyone who has read this blog frequently knows I'm a big Mike Mussina fan. I am completely overjoyed with how Moose has been pitching lately. Over his last 5 games, he's thrown 29.1 innings, given up 27 hits, 2 BB, has 17 K and an ERA of 2.76. Oh yeah, he's 5-0 in that stretch. Yeah, I think I need to do another Moose call. Mooooooooooooooooooooooooooosssssssse! He was awesome again tonight. He's no longer an overpowering pitcher, but you don't really have to be when you move the ball around like he's been doing. The defense definitely had his back tonight. It doesn't hurt either that he has a 20mph difference between his heater and his changeup. Al Leiter made mention during the broadcast that at best most pitchers are lucky to have a 15mph difference between those 2 pitches. Moose is putting up 20. The predictions of his impending demise have been greatly over exaggerated. He's now 6-3 on the season ans is tied for the league lead in wins. Suck on that Hank Steinbrenner. Mooooooooooooooooooooooooooosssssssse!
I thought Ross Ohlendorf was going to blow the victory for Moose. If not for a sweet 6-4 DP by Jeter and Cano he would have. That was definitely the game saver. I was a little peeved that Ross allowed the inherited runner to score which was charged to Moose. Ross got lucky there. The D picked him up.
Joba was pretty dominant tonight. I'm not a fan of the walks but I'll take the 3 Ks. His slider is wicked.
As we knew he would, Mariano bounced back well from his outing yesterday. Mo has the great ability to put the past in the past, which is probably one of the reasons why he's the greatest closer ever. It was great watching him strike out Evan Longoria. That wasn't even close to being fair. Have a seat rook. You just got schooled.
I would be pretty ticked off right now if I'm a Yankee pitcher. Where the heck is the run support? I know they were going up against James Shields who has been outstanding lately, but come on? 2 runs? Pathetic. They got lucky with the run Abreu knocked in. The only one who should get any props tonight was Robinson Cano. You can't have a much better night at the plate. Robbie goes 4 for 4 and raises his average from .183 to .205. For those of you that aren't mathematically inclined that's a 22 point jump. I guess he didn't like having the lowest average on the team. Robbie is starting to come around. He's now hit safely in 8 of his last 9 games, going 13-33 (.394) and raising his average 55 points (.150 to .205).
The top of the order absolutely stunk tonight. Collectively the 1-5 hitters went 2-19 with 1 BB and 6K, and 1 of those hits was a bloop single into no man's land. They've got to do better than that. They haven't been getting it done and they really need to.
Somebody tell Hank to chill out. The team is only 3.5 games out of first. It should be a lot worse. But it's not. Keep your head up Hank. We're in decent shape all things considered.
Tomorrow night marks the return of Ian Kennedy. He really needs to throw a good game if he wants to stay in the bigs. He had a great outing in Scranton and he needs to bring that game with him to the big stage. He goes up against Scott Kazmir which is no easy task, especially when the offense is struggling. Take care of business Ike. Earn your spot and get us back to .500 and within 2.5-3 games of the top.
Tomorrow's game is an odd 4:10 start. I'm not sure what that's all about but at least it's not starting at 1pm. I hope to catch the first part on the radio and the end on TV. I'm kind of glad it's an early start because there are a lot of good season finales on tomorrow night. I haven't been able to DVR CSI lately because of the games. It looks like a good one. I'm glad that the TV season is coming to an end because that means I don't have to miss anything.
Peace, love and Pinstripes,
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
So Mariano Rivera is human after all. The perfect season comes to an end. Oh well. He couldn't be perfect forever. The freakin' Rays are on fire. Their pitching has been excellent. With Boston losing the Rays are now in sole possession of 1st place. What's the world coming to?
You can't pitch much better than Chien-Ming Wang did tonight. For the 2nd straight outing, Wang pitched well enough to win, but ended up getting the no decision. If not for a late Hideki Matsui HR he would have suffered his 2nd straight loss. The Yankees offense failed him terribly. They again had their chances but again, as we've seen quite a bit this year, they came up empty. Back-to-back singles to leadoff the 2nd inning.....ground out followed by a 5-4-3 DP. Jeter hits a 1-out triple in the 6th.....ground out followed by a pop out. Terrible baseball. Just terrible.
Hideki Matsui has been the team MVP so far. He bailed out the team with his 1-out game-tying HR in the 9th. It's hard to believe that the Yankees allegedly tried to deal Godzilla in the off-season. He's sweet with the stick. He has been on all year. I wish I could say the same for everyone else. To be fair, Jeter, Damon, Abreu and Melky have had a decent year so far but they never all seem to be on at the same time. It's hard to believe Robinson Cano has the worst average on the team. That feels weird to say. He's been doing better as of late but his terrible start is inexcusable. It was nice to see Giambi rap a few hits. He had a great night at the dish going 2-2 with 2 walks. I hope this is a sign of things to come. Jose Molina has been a huge disappointment offensively since playing every day. If I didn't look closely I'd think they brought back Wil Nieves. Get well soon Jorgie. We need ya.
Despite Mariano's 1st loss, the Yankees bullpen has been outstanding lately, really all year. Joba looked a little shaky tonight as he struggled with his control but eh got the pitcher's best friend to bail him out of trouble. Coming into tonight the bullpen ERA was 3.38, 6th best in the AL, only .06 points behind the 3rd best Twins. Opponents are only hitting .230 off the Yankee relievers, 3rd best in the AL. They also rank 2nd in bullpen innings pitched, 3 innings behind Texas and 17 innings ahead of the 3rd ranked Tigers. Not bad, not bad. Definitely a high point.
I'd like to give some credit to Edwin Jackson for keeping the Yankee bats at bay, but I don't really think he's all that good a pitcher. I exchanged a few e-mails today with my Uncle and the Yankees came up in the "conversation." He wrote, "The way the Yanks are hitting, you might want to select an alternate team to track. How can you have that much fire power in your line-up and your run production be so poor?" That's a great question and I wish I had an answer. I'd like to think it'd get a little better with the return of A-Rod, and then Posada, but I'm not so sure. We're a-quarter of the way through the season and it's been the same story all year. Coming into today the Yankees ranked 6th in the AL in batting average (.263). They ranked 8th in the AL in runs scored (168). They ranked 6th in OBP (.330) and 3rd in slugging percentage (.417). They're better than that! But there's lots of baseball left to be played. They have by no means dug themselves a hole they can't climb out of. I think it will be a little tougher this year with the improved quality of baseball being played by their fellow AL East counterparts, but they'll heat up. I've just got that feeling. Alex will be back soon. Jorge will hopefully be right behind him. That will be a huge shot in the arm.
Back to 2 games under .500. Ah familiarity. I hate it. Start winning some games!!
Monday, May 12, 2008
Well that was a crappy start to the Yanks/Rays series. The Rays are playing some pretty damn good ball right now. Tonight was no different. The Rays pitching has been outstanding lately. Tonight was no different. Matt Garza looked pretty good. The Yankees didn't have much of a chance against him. The 6th inning was the only inning the Yankees had 2 runners on base at the same time against Garza and he got out of it by getting Abreu to bounce into the 5-4-3. It seemed like every time the Yankees got a runner on Garza induced a double play ball. When you're hot you're hot. The Rays have now won 10 straight at home. Break 'em up I say. Break 'em up. I have a feeling they'll be around the top of the standings for a long time.
The Yankees offense was brutal, but you've got to credit Garza for that. The Yankees managed 6 hits, 5 coming off the bats of the 6-9 hitters in the order. The 1-5 hitters went a combined 1-17 w/ 5 Ks. Not good. Teams don't win ball games when the top of the lineup doesn't hit the ball. But again, you've got to tip your hat to Garza.
Andy Pettitte started out well but he quickly faded and ended up getting knocked around. Is it me or does that seem to Pettitte's typical outing lately. Start out great and end up getting hit around. Weird. I guess all those stats the YES crew flashed before the game about how great Andy is in the Trop meant bupkiss. Stats schmats. I appreciate the 4-1-1 but very seldom do you see a performance that backs up the stats. At least that's how it seems. Pettitte didn't help anybody out by only lasting 4 innings. It was good to finally see Chris Britton get into a game. For a guy that gets called up and sent down a lot he never seems to pitch. I wonder why that is. The leadoff walk to Longoria was his only real downfall. Leadoff walks are not what you want.
I watched most of the game in picture-in-picture. There was some local nutjob who had a 3 hour standoff with police on a local highway. The guy was packing and the po-po shut ended up shutting down the highway. SWAT was there. The news had full coverage so it was one of those things you kind of want to watch because who knows what'll go down. The wacko was shown holding his gun to his head for quite a while. After about 3 hours the SWAT team finally rushed the car and hit him with one of those "light blasts." The guy was apprehended and no one was injured. I didn't want to watch it but I couldn't turn away.
Chien-Ming Wang gets the ball tomorrow and we might need him to throw up a lot of zeroes if the Rays pitchers keep tossing the way they have been. I think they showed that their team ERA over their last 10 home games is 1.86 or something. But like I said, stats schmats. Wang is our ace and number 1. No better guy to have on the hill.
Peace, love and Pinstripes,