Well that was fun. Not. Man the Halos are good. Far and away the best team in baseball. The Yanks didn't really stand a chance tonight, and this was the game they needed to win. They now need to hope that Darrell Rasner or Sidney Ponson can squeak one out. Me don't like their chances.
Andy Pettitte was not sharp tonight. He got better as the game went on, which isn't saying much, considering he got knocked around for 9 runs on 11 hits. I'm not putting much stock in his poor performance. He and Pudge had obvious communication problems and I'm sure that had a little to do with it. I'm not sure what kind of prep time the Yankee pitching staff had with Pudge, but I imagine it wasn't much. Now I have absolutely no idea what kind of effect throwing to a new catcher has on a pitcher, but it did appear to me that the two weren't connecting. But they did get better as the game went on. But Andy is better than that. He melted down in the 3rd. That was bad. Hopefully, the staff can get with Pudge so that they're all on the same page. Most of these guys are vets, including Pudge, so it shouldn't take long for them to get acclimated to each other and get a rhythm going.
Pudge's debut left a lot to be desired. They're talking now on the post game show that he probably got less than 3 hours of sleep yesterday with everything that goes along with being traded. Perhaps playing him today was not the best move. Jose Molina is a pretty good catcher. I'd rather see a rested Molina behind the dish than Pudge on 3 hours of sleep. Give him a day to collect himself. It's not like catching is the easiest position to play. A day off wouldn't have been a bad thing. He'll be fine.
Robbie's bat has cooled greatly, going 3 for 22 in his last 5 games. It's not like I thought he'd continue having multi-hit games every day. But I didn't foresee him slumping like this again. In their 8 straight wins, Robbie goes 18 for 35. In their last 5 games, as mentioned above, 3 for 22. The Yanks are 1-4 in those 5 games. Robbie needs to hit consistently if this team is going to win. The proof is in the pudding. On a whole, the offense did alright tonight. Scoring 6 runs on 12 hits normally wins games.
Tomorrow should be another fun one. Sidney "1.88 WHIP" Ponson is on the hill. If he gets rocked, and I'm thinking he will, he's done. There's no way he's the best option. I'd prefer to see Ian Kennedy pitch over Ponson. Hopefully, he's better than he's been tomorrow. And hopefully the Yankees give him the same type of run support he's gotten all year. The Yanks has scored 43 runs in his 5 starts. 43 divided by 5, carry the 1, umm, stupid long division. Seriously, I'll take 8 runs tomorrow. That should get it done. Assuming of course Sidney doesn't give up more than that, and quite honestly, I'm afraid he will.
With the loss tonight, we're now 1.5 back of Boston, which if you ask me, is a deficit that can be made up rather easily now that Manny is on a plane headed for LA. Man the Sox got hosed in that deal. Jason Bay is no slouch, but he's no Manny Ramirez. They essentially traded Manny, $7 million duckets, and 2 guys for Jason Bay?? If I made that trade in any fantasy league that trade would get vetoed with the quickness. But this is real life, and the trade stands. The Red Sox just got treated like an inmate in Oz. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about. I understand everything that's gone on with Manny, but how does that deal possibly make any sense? Sox ownership must have really wanted to rid themselves of Manny. I was talking to my father-in law tonight about the deal. He was listening to the utter garbage that is Buffalo local sports radio. Sox fans were calling in trying to justify that this was a good deal for the Sox. No matter how you try to spin it Sox fans, it's not a good deal. Not even close. You guys are done he says while shaking his head, grinning and smiling from ear to ear.
Peace, love and Pinstripes,
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Well that was fun. Not. Man the Halos are good. Far and away the best team in baseball. The Yanks didn't really stand a chance tonight, and this was the game they needed to win. They now need to hope that Darrell Rasner or Sidney Ponson can squeak one out. Me don't like their chances.
Just an update to let everyone know I've added a new link to the "other cool blogs/sites" section on the left. It's a link to HomeTeamSportz.com. They specialize in infant and youth sports apparel, and they even have stuff for pets. Being the father of a soon-to-be 1 year old, I've been checking it out and there's quite a lot of merch I haven't seen anywhere else. Just thought I'd share in case anyone was interested.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Due to meetings/work, I missed pretty much all of today's Yanks game. I heard very few bits and pieces, but what I heard sounded good to me. Back-to-back bombs by Bobby and Alex. Yeah, it was that kind of day. They busted out the whooping sticks. Gotta love it. Sounds like Joba threw another gem. He's going to be larger than life. I can feel it.
I left work early because my buddy and I were going to a concert. Before the show (Sam Roberts Band if you were wondering), we stopped for some pizza/wings and adult beverages at a local pizzeria/bar. If you can believe this, today was the 1st day in 2008 that I had an alcoholic beverage. Yeah, not a big drinker. But I will throw a few back, or in today's case 3 beers and 2 shots of tequila, if I feel like it. And today I did. Mainly because right when we got there, I noticed on the Yankee post game show that Kyle Farnsworth was sent packing for Pudge Rodriguez. If that's not a reason to celebrate I don't know what is. Huge trade for the Yankees. Huge. And in my opinion, Cashman again comes out the winner. He's 2 for 2 in my book. The Yankee have a plethora of relievers that can take care of business and be that bridge to Mariano. K-Farns was expendable. Very expendable. The Yankees desperately needed a catcher. Jose Mo may be able to gun down 1/2 the base stealers, but he isn't hitting worth a lick. I mentioned yesterday that the bottom of the Yankees order was incredibly weak: Melky, Betemit, Molina/Moeller. Pudge's bat in the Yankee lineup will work quite nicely. Pudge is a career 300 hitter with a .295 average so far this year. At 36, he doesn't have the pop he once did, but the average in itself is much better than anything the Yanks had in house. And his arm is a plus as well. For his career he's gunned down 47% of base stealers, though this year it's down slightly, at 36%, which is 3rd in MLB for qualified players. Nice. He's also got 13 career Gold Gloves. Can you say upgrade? Yeah, I thought you could. Having 2 catchers with great arms is going to work nicely for a team like the Yanks. Teams ran all over the Yanks last year and this year when Jorgie was behind the dish. Consider those days over. Big fan of the deal. Big fan.
Tomorrow brings the Angels to town, fresh off another sweep of the soon-to-be Mannyless BoSox. The Angels swept them both at home and on the road. Hey Dirty (water), baby I got yo number. The Angels are far and away the league's best team and they've always played well against the Yanks. I believe this stat is still true: the Angels are the only team with a winning record against the Yankees when Joe Torre was the Yankee manager. But one of their strengths is the running game. See previous paragraph. The Yanks will fare better than the Sox. No doubt.
Bye bye Kyle. Bye bye Kyle. Bye bye Kyle. We hate to see you go.
Peace, love and Pinstripes,
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
I think it's painfully clear that the back end of the Yankees' rotation is in need of an improvement. Darrell Rasner was again, for the most part, ineffective. The loss tonight puts him at 5-8 on the year, and he's 2-8 in his last 10 decisions. He wasn't as horrible tonight as he's been in recent games, but his performance left a lot to be desired, especially when your in the thick of a pennant race and 3 days away from the non-waiver trade deadline. If there was one game that Rasner needed to be great, it was tonight. A solid outing might have solidified his spot in the rotation and kept Cashman away from exploring a deadline deal. D-Raz is just not getting it done. He allowed 12 baserunners in his 6 innings of work. He didn't really do anything to help himself out either, only striking out 1 batter. But again, it wasn't a bad outing. But it was far from good. It'll be interesting to see if this sparks Cashman into making a move before Thursday's deadline.
Damaso Marte. You're already making me hate owning your jersey, albeit temporally. Thanks again Phil. Appreciate it. Marte's job was to come in and pick up Rasner. Marte allowed successive hits to the 1st 3 batters he faced. LaTroy Hawkins could have done that. I'll let it slide this time.
Justin Christian. Love the speed baby. He's our version of Dave Roberts. If only we could follow it up with a base knock.
The offense put up a fight, but it was a little too little, a little too late. No runs in innings 1-5, 6 runs in innings 6-9, with 5 coming in the last 2 innings. It was nice to see some fight in the dog, but I'd like to see the fight a little earlier on. Again, I'm left wondering what value there is in having Wilson Betemit on the roster. He is absolutely abysmal, going 0-5 tonight and whiffing with the tying run on 2nd. The top of the lineup ended up having a pretty big night. hitters 1 thru 5 went 11-21 with 3 walks. The bottom 4, excluding Nady's ever so productive at-bat, went 2 for 17. But what do you expect when those 4 hitters are made up of Melky, Betemit, Chad Moeller, and Robbie Cano. Cano is the only hitter I have faith in. He didn't put up much of a fight in the 9th, but he'll be OK. I can let Moeller slide too b/c he's basically a 3rd string catcher. But Melky and the aforementioned Betemit? We could do definitely do better. To be completely honest, I wouldn't mind seeing the Yanks take a flyer on Barry Bonds at this point. It hurts to say that because I'm not any kind of Bonds fan, but he'd be a huge upgrade to an offense that struggle more often than it should. Nady in left. Damon in center. Bonds at DH. Could work. It's really a can't miss, assuming Bonds truly would play for the league minimum. It'll never happen though. If it doesn't, no complaints here.
Despite 3 hits, Giambi's struggles at the plate continued. He came up in 2 big spots with RISP and didn't deliver. The highlight of the night though was watching him flip off Brian Roberts. Smooth G. Real smooth. I immediately started laughing. I called my wife in to see it and she thought it was funny, but a little classless considering the kids in the audience. That's a 4th grade teacher for ya. Anyway, still funny.
Mariano. Why can't every game be a save situation? A meaningless HR turned into the game winner. He's still having the best season he's ever had. No worries.
Tomorrow is a hated day game. Hopefully, some of my Wednesday meetings get canceled, otherwise I'll miss most of it. I know. I know. Woe is me, right? Hopefully Joba ends this slide.
I take full responsibility for John Lackey giving up a hit to Dustin Pedroia. I turned it on picture-in-picture and he got the 1st out. With 1 strike on Pedroia, I flipped it to the main screen, and said to my wife, "Now that I'm watching he'll give up a hit." Here come the pitch....base hit. Sorry Angels fans. My bad. But at least you won and continued your domination of the Red Sox. Having Mark Teixiera around won't hurt either. Can't wait until he's in Pinstripes next year.
Peace, love and Pinstripes,
Yesterday was just one of those games where the other team is locked in and there isn't much you can do about it. The O's pretty much knocked around everything the Yankees threw at them. Moose got shelled. Robertson got shellacked. Farnsworth got hit. It was the O's night for sure. Not much the Yanks could have done. But it's not all bad. Both the Sox and the Rays lost, so we lost no ground in the standings. So we're still 3 back of the Rays, and 2 behind Boston. We're still the team to beat.
You knew right from the get-go that it wasn't Moose's night. Moose's control has been outstanding all year. A leadoff walk is very unlink Mike. He barely escaped damage in the 1st when he got Aubrey Huff looking. Moose pitched more like Sidney Ponson last night, allowing lots and lots of baserunners. No amount of run support would have bailed him out. The O's hit him hard and hit him often. 8 hits in 5 innings of work, 5 for extra bases. But like I said, the O's hitters were locked in. It was just one of those games.
Since the game was a blowout, I didn't pay much attention to most of it. Having been away for a few days, i had a lot to catch up on, mainly sleep. Cooperstown is very exhausting. I ate very little and slept all of about 10 hours combined the 3 nights I was there, 12 hours tops. I ended up crashing before the game ended which is why there was no post yesterday. The wrong kind of game happened at the right time all things considered.
Hopefully tonight will be better. Seems like we might be engaging in a slingshot. I don't like our odds on paper. Rasner is shaky and the Yanks always struggle with Daniel Cabrera. Despite the 2 straight losses, the Yanks are still one of the hottest teams in baseball. Things will be a little tougher without Jorge Posada, who is having season ending surgery. I applaud the move. I thought for sure he'd be stupid and try to play at the end of the year, pushing back his start date next year. They can get by without him this year. Next year is a question mark.
Finally, my buddy Jeff said he should be able to change by Phil Hughes, err, I mean Damaso Marte batting jersey, into a Mike Mussina jersey. Remove the 4, sew on a 5, good to go. I'm not sure what to make of Phil's number switching. If he opts for something other than 65, it'll be his 3rd # in less than 2 years, which to me, seems pretty weird. I was a big Hughes guy and this flip-flopping is kind of annoying, and right now I'm a little turned off by it. It's not a big deal, but his stock has dipped slightly in my book. Whatev.
Peace, love and Pinstripes,
Monday, July 28, 2008
So what did I miss? Anything good? LOL. I take off for a weekend and the Yankees lay the smackdown on the Red Sox and pull off a pretty decent trade. I think it's safe to say that as of right now, the Yankees are by far, the team to beat. Winners of 8 of 9 since the All-Star break. They're pitching well. They're hitting well. And the Nady/Marte trade only makes them better.
I tired to pay attention to the games as best I could while in Cooperstown but the satellite radio reception down there left a lot to be desired. I would have watched it on TV, but I might have missed out on an autograph opportunity. I did listen to some of the Joba/Beckett game on Friday. It was the Sox radio broadcast so it was obviously slanted to their taste. they were calling for Joba to be ejected for buzzing Youkilis (again), and they were criticizing the home plate umpire. Now I didn't see the game or any highlights so I can't really talk to those points. Somebody who saw it, let me know your thoughts.
I was dead tired when I got home yesterday. I started to watch the Yanks/Sox finale but Ponson was up to his usual antics allowing lots of baserunners. It finally caught up to him and he got shelled. Sidney has to go. He hasn't impressed me at all, and if not for a lot of run support, he'd be a lot worse. I predict he's gone in the next week or so. It wouldn't shock me if they make a trade for a starter, send Rasner down, let Sidney get another start, and then DFA him when he fails. He's not going to get that run support as often as he was. And the outcome will be a lot like it was yesterday.
But anytime, the Yanks take 2 of 3 in Fenway, you've got to be happy. BoSox fans shouldn't be all too excited about taking the finale. It was against Sidney Ponson. You should win that game. Like I said earlier, the Yanks are playing much better baseball right now. It won't be long before they leapfrog the Sox in the standings.
I heard about the trade Friday night. At first I heard Ohlendorf, Tabata, and 2 other prospects. My first reaction was that Cashman totally snaked the Pirates. Then I heard instead of the 2 prospects it was Karstens and McCutchen. Still a deal that favors the Yankees, but not as heavily favored as it was originally. The Yankees picked up 2 immediate impact players for spare parts. Ohlendorf, Karstens, Tabata, and McCutchen are a lot like the pieces you have left over after you put something together. You might need them someday but you probably never will. Tabata, who was once thought to be the best position player prospect has run into some trouble this year. For starters, Austin Jackson has leapfrogged him as the best position player we have in the minors. Second, he's a head case. Third, his position is easily replicable. The 3 pitchers all are pretty much the same. None ever really are going to be an impact starter for the Yankees. The plan I'm sure is to still have the 3 kids (Joba, Hughes, and Kennedy), make up the future rotation. Wang is your 4th starter, and the 5th has to be a veteran, hopefully Moose. Everyone else is nothing but a spot-starter, and the Yankees have plenty of good-quality arms in the minors. Sorry, but you weren't really needed. But thanks for all you've done, which isn't much.
Cooperstown was fun. I picked up about 8 autographs, which puts me at 50 of the 64 living HOFers. Maybe I'll blog more about the trip later.
Oh, and thanks Phil Hughes for giving up your # to Marte. I appreciate it. Now I have a Damaso Marte batting jersey. Yay me. first, Hughes screws me by changing from 65 to 34. I had a Hughes 65 shirt, which thus became useless. Then I had my buddy, who works in the biz, put a 34 on the back of my batting jersey, and now that's worthless to me. So thanks Phil. I'm sure a lot of people out there are extremely pleased with their Damaso Marte gear. Your stock just dropped a lot in my book. Hopefully, my buddy can remove the 4 and put on a 5.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Take that Yankee starters. Moose just put on a clinic. At least it sounded that way. My 2pm meeting ended up being canceled so I got to listen to the second half of the game on the radio. I was able to follow along with the first half of the game with the Yahoo gamecast. It never sounded like Moose was in any kind of trouble. The hits sounded soft, when guys were on base he struck guys out or got the double play. Moose is the man. What amazes me is that he's managed to lower his ERA in each of his last 5 starts. Over those starts it went from 3.93 to 3.87 to 3.64 to 3.61 to 3.49, and with today's 8 shutout innings, it's now 3.26. It's really impressive to me because his ERA was south of 4 when this run started. Over those 5 starts, Moose has thrown 32 innings, allowed only 33 hits, 3 walks, has struck out 31, and has only allowed 5 runs, all earned, for an ERA of 1.41. Moose is having a dream season. I don't think anyone, Moose included, could have predicted this. Mooooooooooooose! 1 O for each win. Count 'em up. You'll find 13, which again ties him for the league lead in wins. His career total is now 263. Had Moose gotten some run support, he could easily have at least 15 wins. A lot of people thought Moose was a borderline HOFer when the season started. I think it's safe to say the pendulum has swung in Moose's favor, especially when you look at how he did last year.
It took a while again for the offense to get going. If not for a really bad defensive miscue by the Twins, the ending to today's game might have been drastically different. But it happened and it worked out well for the boys. Justin Christian made a solid case to play over Brett Gardner. They each are pretty fast and Christian is showing he's got a little better stick. Why not give him a go? Robbie Cano had another multi-hit game, his 6th straight. Talk about being on a tear. He's raised his average 16 percentage points since the break. Boo yah. I thought A-Rod put one out in the 6th. I had a fellow colleague talking to me at my desk when John Sterling broke into his "It is high. It is far. It is gone" catchphrase. I paused our conversation only for Sterling to say "off the base of the wall" instead of "gone." Typical Sterling. Drives me crazy.
Mo had to come in and bail out LaTroy Hawkins. Mo remained perfect in save opportunities, picking up his 25th save in his 25th save opportunity. Mo is having the best season of his career. I outlined this a few weeks ago, and I might as well do it again. Mo's lowest ERA for a full season was 1.38 in 2005. This year it's 1.21. His lowest full season WHIP was 0.87, again in 2005. This year it's 0.68. The lowest opponent's batting average against Mo was .176 in 1999, in 2005 it was .177. This year, it's .169. He's striking out 10.88 per 9 innings. His career best was 10.87 in 1996. His strikeout to walk ratio is 13.5 strikeouts for every one walk. His career best was 6.92 Ks to BBs, back in 2001. That stat blows my mind. And again, he's perfect in save opportunities. He's putting up career bests in every statistical category. Best. Closer. Ever.
John Sterling commented on the broadcast that Joe Girardi mentioned that they corrected a mechanical flaw in Hawkins' delivery. Can you say jinx? I wonder who the odd man out will be when Brian Bruney comes back? Hmm. I wonder. It should be Hawkins, but it won't be. Deal him for somebody and eat his salary. He's the worst we've got right now, by far.
6 straight baby! Not a bad way to start the second half. Now we have a well deserved off day and then it's time to renew the rivalry. Joba vs. Beckett in game 1. That should kick the series off just right. I kind of wish there wasn't an off day. Don't want to see them lose any of this momentum. I unfortunately won't be around for the Friday and Saturday games. I'm headed to Cooperstown for the Induction Weekend festivities. This will be my 3rd straight year. It's a real good time, if you don't mind sleeping in the front seat of a Toyota Corolla. At least this year, my sleeping quarters will be slightly bigger, the back of a Kia Rondo. Ahh, good times. I wouldn't miss it for the world. Not even for Sox/Yankees. You guys hold down the fort and I'll see ya sometime Sunday. Enjoy the off day and go Yanks!
Peace, love and Pinstripes,
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I was worried there for a little while. It was the bottom of the 6th and the Yanks were down 2-1 and only had 2 hits. It had the making of the typical Yankee game. Good pitching, little offense, and headed toward a 1-run win or loss. And then Bobby Abreu stepped to the plate and put the Yanks back on top with a 2-run HR. Next thing I know, the Yanks are sitting on a 6-run lead, the bullpen has the ball, game over.
I'm impressed that the Yankees offense again bounced back after the team fell behind. This is the 4th straight game where the Yankees tied the game or went ahead in the same inning where they lost the lead. Yesterday, the look-alikes knotted the game at 2 in the 2nd and the Yanks scored 4. On Sunday, the A's tied the game in the 6th and the Yanks scored the eventual winning run in the bottom of the inning. On Saturday, the A's scored a run in the 9th to take a 1-run lead and the Yanks tied it up in the bottom of the 9th. Heck, on Friday the A's scored in the 1st inning and the Yanks tied it right up. That's impressive.
Overall it was a pretty good night at the plate, with the exception of the bottom of the order. Melky Melky Melky. Horrible. Just horrible. Melky has really worn out his welcome in my book. I wouldn't mind seeing him dealt but right now his value is in the toilet. I've been suggesting they deal Melky for years now. Every time i bring him up he goes on a tear so maybe I'll have that effect on him again. It's very nice to have Johnny Damon back in the lineup. It makes it so much more formidable. He did a great job tonight of setting the table, picking up 2 walks and a single, scoring twice. Glad to have you back Johnny D. Cano still has the hottest bat in the lineup and it's about time Robbie is consistently stinging the ball. Robbie now has 5 straight multi-hit games and is 12-23 since coming back from the break. I don't think it's a coincidence that the team wins when Robbie hits. His average, up to .263, is now somewhat respectable. It's not quite what we Yankee fans have come to expect from Robbie but if he keeps this up, he'll be at .300 in no time. All in all, a good night at the dish.
Rasner pitched pretty well. Michael Kay called it his best outing of the season. Oh Michael Kay. You're such a tool. He was good, but not that good. He did allow 8 baserunners in 5.2 IPs. He did leave the game on the hook for the loss. His 1st 2 outings of the season were much better than tonight's effort, which again was solid, but not his best. D-Raz did do his job. He only gave up 2 runs, which is right up there with his counterparts in the rotation. Raz has been real shaky lately and his start tonight was encouraging. Let's chalk his success up to Chad Moeller. My research department (Pete Abraham's blog) tells me that opponents have a .675 OPS against D-Raz when Moeller is his battery mate. With Posada it's .933 and with Molina it's 1.014. I think it's safe to say that Chad Moeller needs to be Rasner's personal catcher. If the rotation can keep this going, it'll make Cashman's job a little easier come the trade deadline, and it's going to leave Yankee fans saying Johan who? I think they still need an arm because the roof is eventually going to cave in on Sidney Ponson. He can't keep this up by allowing all these baserunners. A hired gun would be nice, but again, it won't be as necessary if these guys throw like they're throwing.
Again, the bullpen was awesome. 3.1 IPs of 1 hit, 1 walk, 5 K ball. David Robertson picked up a huge out in the 6th, on 1 pitch, and earned his 2nd win of the season, on 1 pitch. Not a bad night's work. Robertson has been extremely impressive since his debut, and who wouldn't be shaky in their major league debut? Since his 1st outing, D-Rob has thrown 9.1 IPs, given up 3 hits, 1 run, 4 walks, and 13 Ks. Coming into tonight, including his 1st outing, opponents are only hitting .184 off him. Joba who? Kyle Farnsworth is no longer Farnsworthless. I'm still in amazement over how well he's thrown lately. K-Farns in his last 10 games, has thrown 9 innings and hasn't given up a hit! K-Farns has technically thrown a no-hitter. Color me dumbfounded. Again, Joba who?
The Rays have lost to the A's and the Yanks are now only 3.5 back of first. They've won 5 straight and they look good. They're pitching extremely well and they're hitting the ball. Imagine how we'd be if Chien-Ming Wang were around? My man Moose is on the hill tomorrow for an afternoon game. Ugh. I have meetings from 1-3 so I'm going to miss 2/3 of the game. I'll get to follow along with the Yahoo gamecast for the first hour but I'll totally miss the 2nd. It's Moose's turn to start this all over again. None of these guys want to be the starter that breaks the streak of solid outings. You can do it Moose. Make me and my fellow Mike Mussina Fan Club members proud.
Peace, love and Pinstripes,
I wanted to pass along a website you can check out if you're looking for tickets to games, events, etc. It's called Esellout.com. To me, it looks like StubHub, but it appears to be a little less expensive at a quick glance. So if you're looking for tickets to a sold out event (i.e. the final game at Yankee Stadium), give it a look. Also, they gave me a savings code to pass along for people to use to save some bucks. The code is GOYANKS and using it will save you 5%.
PS- I get nothing if anyone buys tickets.
Just wanted to let everyone know that I've added a new link under the Awesome Yankees Blog section on the left. This is for The Final Season. Lots of pics and videos. Give it a look.
Monday, July 21, 2008
We're now about 100 games into the season and I still have no idea what to expect when I watch a Yankee games. The biggest question is always will they hit the ball? After some less then stellar offensive outings, the offense exploded tonight, scoring 12 runs on 16 hits and 4 walks. They had a little bit of everything tonight. I'm a big fan of keeping the line moving, like they did in the 2nd inning. They'll do much better hitting single after single than they will trying to hit a 6-run homer. The "I've got to hit a homer" mentality has always been something that has hampered the Yankees in my opinion. I've blogged several times in the past that they need to concentrate more on getting successive base hits than they do hitting 3-run HRs. Tonight was a good example of what happens when you rack up hit after hit after hit. It was nice though to see a few longballs sprinkled in for fun.
I can't figure out how Sidney Ponson does it. He again allowed a plethora of baserunners but didn't really allow any to score. It's insane. One of these days it has to catch up with him. The law of averages says so, right? Hopefully that day comes next year when he pitches for someone else. But for now, I hope he keeps doing what he's doing. And I'm not sure what it is about the guy that inspires the offense. He's now the beneficiary of 41 Yankee runs in his 4 Yankee starts. Why can't the offense do this every time Moose starts? That's what I want to see. what's really odd is Ponson got the same kind of run support in Texas. The Yankees and Rangers have combined for 103 runs in Sidney's 11 starts. Unreal. for those of you without a calculator or forgot how to do long division, that's 9.36 runs per game, which is the highest in the league for any starter with more than 10 games started. Again, unreal.
Getting back to the offense, it was good to see them set the tone so early with A-Rod's 2-run A-bomb in the 1st inning. And it was nice to see that when Minnesota countered with 2 runs in the second, the Yanks answered right back, effectively winning the game right there in the 2nd inning. 6 guys had multi-hit games tonight. Jeter (2-5), Abreu (2-4), A-Rod (2-3), Cano (2-5), Melky (2-5), and our new full-time catcher Jose Molina (3-4). The mustachioed one was the only Yankee starter without a hit. The Giambino had a rough night at the dish with 3 Ks. I think Jason needs to apply a little bit of Just For Men to that 'stache to reactivate its awesomeness. Robbie Cano on the other hand remained real hot. Robbie in his last 11 games is hitting .364 with 11 extra-base hits. He's tearing it up. Post All-Star break, Robbie is hitting .526 (10-19) with 4 multi-hit games. He's locked in. As I've said the last few days, Robbie has better #s after the ASB. If I remember the stat they flashed on the broadcast, he's a .338 hitter after the AS break. Considering his a career .304 hitter, you can see that the 2nd half #s are better than the 1st. This year looks to be no different. The best thing tonight though was Jose Molina racking up 3 hits. With Posada back on the DL, and possibly done for the year, Jose needs to step it up at the plate. I think with some regular ABs, Jose will do well at the plate. He's shown us already this year he can hit the ball, having batted .364 through the 1st 10 games of the season, roping double after double. But we don't need Jose to hit to that level. Even .250 would be acceptable. Molina's value is best earned behind the plate. He's gunning down almost 50% of base-stealers. That's going to help big time against the teams that like to run, namely the Rays and the Red Sox.
The bullpen? In a word: fantastic. Hawkins may have allowed a run, big deal. As a unit, they threw 3.1 innings of 1 hit ball. Edwar and David Robertson are making a serious push at working their way up the pecking order. Girardi has a lot of weapons down there in the bullpen. The bridge to Mariano now has a lot of solid options. K-Farns, Edwar, Robertson, Giese, Veras. Pick one. They'll all get you out. Besides being able to hold a lead, the bullpen is going to keep the Yankees in the game when the starting pitching has the occasional bad outing. It'll give the offense the chance to work its way back into the game and thus provide the team with a better chance of winning. What's particularly impressive is that the Yankees' bullpen has thrown the 2nd most # of innings in the AL, yet no reliever is in the top 15 in appearances. Now granted that might be different if the bullpen was the same from day 1. I think only Hawkins, Farnsworth, and Mo were on the Opening Day roster. They've mentioned that "stat" several times on YES and they always neglect the fact that 2/3 of the pen has only been around for 2/3 of the season. Regardless, Girardi has a good thing going. The arms in the pen aren't burned out there like they have been in the last few years, getting run out there game after game.
D-Raz needs to keep it going tomorrow. He hasn't exactly been throwing well lately. He's 2-7 in his last 9 starts. The last thing he wants to do is be the 1 starter not to win his game. The 4 before him all pitched well enough to win; Joba of course getting boned by the pen. Rasner needs to take the ball, throw a decent game, and give the ball to Moose to do it all over again. I'm telling you, leaving Fenway in 2nd place isn't that much of a stretch. Make it happen boys. Make it happen.
Peace, love and Pinstripes,
Sunday, July 20, 2008
It's a good thing that the Yankees pitching staff is pitching lights out baseball because the offense is doing absolutely nothing to help these guys out. It's absolutely amazing how bad this offense is considering the talent and firepower that makes it up. Granted, it's been knocked down a few pegs by injuries, but still, they should be able to muster more than 2-3 runs a game. The Yankees have now played 15 games in July and have manged to score more than 4 runs a total of 5 times. They've scored 2 runs or less in over half (8) of their games this month. That's insane and it's puzzling. It really is. The Yankees would be running away with things if they performed up to their potential. Surprisingly, they're right smack dab in the thick of things. They currently find themselves 4.5 games back of the Rays and 3 games back of Boston, and only 2 in the loss column. Unreal. The pitching my friends, is carrying them this year.
Andy Pettitte took his turn today and kept things rolling. Right now, I don't know if there is a better 1-2-3 punch than Moose, Joba and Andy. Andy was magnificent today. He threw a lot of first strikes and was ahead in the count most of the game. His strike to ball ratio was 2 to 1. He didn't issue any freebies and when guys did get on, andy neutralized things by picking up a needed strikeout or DP. The A's managed 4 hits of Andy. 2 were in the 3rd and Andy ended up striking out the 3 guys who made outs. He got a double play to get out of a jam in the 6th. Andy has always been a better pitcher in the 2nd half. I've stated a few times after his recent outings that it looks like the 2nd half started early. It officially started today and it was arguably his best outing of the season. With the win, Andy is now 8-2 over his last 10 decisions. The pitching staff has definitely raised its game. And they've had to, since the offense is so lackluster. Well done Andy. Well done.
Not much to talk about from an offensive standpoint that I didn't say yesterday. I know Justin Duchscherer has been brilliant all year, but I still expect more from these guys. They've got to do better. The pitching staff isn't always going to allow 5 runs in a 3 game series. They need to do their part. Robinson Cano has been on a tear recently. Recently being the last 3 games. Cano racked up 8 hits against the A's, raising his average 12 points in the process to .258. I foresee a steady increase in Robbie's average. He's hitting the ball hard. He looks good. And the 'stache came through in the clutch today picking up the game winning slamalamadingdong. The Giambino actually had a decent game at the plate. He and Robbie's average have been running neck and neck all year. It seems like when one got a few hits, so would the other. The Giambino had a lot of distance between his and Robbie's average a few weeks ago, but a slump dropped Jason back to almost identical averages. Cano actually now has a .001 lead over the Big G. Jason slumped terribly to end the 1st half. He's 4 for 8 with 2 HRs and 5 walks in his last 3 games. Slump over? The power of the 'stache is recharged? Let's hope because the offense needs it.
Now the look-alikes come to town for a pretty important series. The Twins are currently 2 games ahead of the Yanks in the wild card standings. It should be a pretty good series. The pitching matchups in my estimate favor the Twins. Sideny Ponson goes tomorrow for the Yanks. He's for the most part been erratic since joining the Yanks, allowing a lot of baserunners but somehow he's pulled a Harry Houdini and hasn't been too bad. The Yankees have actually won all 3 of his starts despite Sidney allowing 28 baserunners in 17 innings. He's gotten some nice run support also: 9 runs and 18 runs in 2 of the 3 games. Hopefully he gets it again tomorrow.
So far the return from the All-Star break has been kind to the boys in Pinstripes. They sweep the A's. The Sox get swept in LA. The Rays drop 1 of 3 to Toronto. Not a bad start. The Rays are going to fade. They don't play as well on the road (19-25) and 38 of their remaining 65 games are away from the Trop. It's a nice time to make a move.
Peace, love and Pinstripes,
Saturday, July 19, 2008
OK, I think I need to start keeping my thoughts to myself because I said some things yesterday and today the opposite happened. I said how great the bullpen was: blown save and Mo almost gets tagged with a loss. I said A-Rod was going to make a run at the batting title: 0 for 5 w/ 3 Ks. I cracked on Brett Gardner calling him overmatched: He picks up 2 hits and a ribbie. I said the offense was great: today they managed 4 runs. Shows what I know.
Joba had a strong outing. It's too bad Jose Veras blew the win for him because he deserved it. It's hard to believe that Joba only has 2 decisions in 9 starts. His ERA since becoming a starter is 2.64. That's pretty darn good. Joba has suffered the same fate as Moose: no run support. But he was on today. 6 IPs, 6 H, 1 BB, 8 K. Nice. The Yankees pitching staff is a lot better than people give it credit for. They've improved since day 1. The team ERA in April was 4.56, 11th best in the AL. In May, it was 4.13, 10th best. June saw another improvement, 3.83, 6th best. July is better still, 3.49, 2nd best team ERA in the AL. On the season, the team ERA is 4.08, 7th best in the AL. Hard to believe when you take into account the God-awful starts from Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy. Chien-Ming Wang has been on the shelf for over a month now. They've demonstrated that they have a pitching staff that is going to hold its own. and now that I say, that, it's all downhill from here.
The offense didn't really get it done today. 13 hits and 11 walks = 4 runs??? That's pathetic. 21 guys left on base. I remember thinking to myself in the 2nd inning that this is going to be 1 of those games where all the offense comes from the bottom of the order. For those that forgot what went down in inning #2, Cano singled, Betemit doubled, Melky singled, Gardner doubled, and then Jeter, Abreu and A-Rod all went down swinging. Batters 1 thru 5 went 3-24. To their credit they accounted for 10 of the 11 Yankee walks. The 6 thru 9 hitters went 10-22, each having a multi-hit day att he plate. Robbie Cano was again the Yankees' hottest hitter going 4 for 6, and he's hitting the ball hard. 6-10 isn't a bad way to start one's 2nd half. I mentioned yesterday that Robbie typically does better in the 2nd half. At least something I said yesterday didn't get negated today.
Now even though I cracked on the bullpen earlier, they did a pretty good job today as a unit. 2 runs in 6 innings isn't all that bad. But they need to be better. They almost let this one slip away. Edwar Ramirez appears to be back on track after a string of rough outings back in late June. In his last 8 games, he's thrown 11 innings, allowing 1 hit, 1 walk, no runs and has struck out 15. David Robertson has been awesome since he was called up. He's allowed 3 hits and no runs in his last 7 games. And then there's Kyle Farnsworth. Dude has been lights out. I'm amazed. I didn't think he had this kind of run in him. Check these #s out: In his last 9 games, K-Farns has thrown 8 hitless innings! I know. I'm shocked too! The Yanks are getting solid pitching from pretty much everybody. Fingers are crossed that the opposite doesn't happen tomorrow.
It may not have been pretty today but a win is a win. It doesn't have to be pretty. The best part is the Red Sox lost again. The Yanks are now 3 back in the loss column for the wild card. If anybody thinks they don't have shot, I'd like to hear why. The Red Sox in my opinion are highly overrated. Their bullpen is terrible, currently 10th best in the AL. They're terrible away from Fenway (21-31). I just don't think they're as good as people think they are. I wouldn't be terribly surprised if come the end of July, the Yanks are ahead of the BoSox in the standings. Nothing would be better than coming out of next weekend's series in Fenway ahead of them in the standings. That would be killer.
Peace, love and Pinstripes,
Friday, July 18, 2008
Moooooooooooose! That's my man. Pickin' up win #12. Again tied for the league lead in wins. Lowering his ERA to 3.49. What more could a card carrying member of the Mike Mussina Fan Club ask for? The only thing we've been jonesing for lately when it comes to Moose's starts is some run support. Prior to this start the Yanks have scored 2 runs or less in 5 of Moose's last 6 starts. Tonight, they picked him up getting him 7 runs. Funny though how when they only need 2 runs, they bust out with 7. But when they need 3 runs, they can only muster 2. In his last 9 starts, Moose has pitched to an ERA of 2.64. Who would have thunk it, right? He pitched another solid game tonight. He allowed 9 hits in his 6 innings, but was able to neutralize the hits by not issuing any walks and striking out 6. He struck out the side after allowing a leadoff single in the 2nd. Struck out Mark Ellis to end the 4th with 2 on. Struck out Jack Cust in 5th with 2 on and no out, and followed it up with a double play. That's pitching right there. Moose has totally overshot everybody's expectations this year. It's hard to believe the season he's having when you look back at last year. I really hope the Yanks take a good hard look at bringing him back. They could use his veteran leadership with all the young arms. The starters getting schooled by Moose. The relievers getting schooled by Mariano. Nothing wrong with that. I have a feeling that Moose is going to make a serious run at his 1st 20 win season this year. The offense just needs to give him a little support. He could already have about 15 wins if this offense would perform to its potential. Tonight was a step in the right direction.
The offense did an outstanding job tonight, working 10 hits and 7 walks off A's pitching. They played their game. They saw a lot of pitches, worked a lot of counts, swung at the right pitches, and racked up 7 runs for their effort. Richie Sexson had a pretty good debut in Pinstripes. You definitely want to see him get off on the right foot an a 2-out RBI single in his 1st AB is a great start in my book. 1 for 3 with a walk and a ribbie. I'll take it. Cano slumped a little bit right before the break but got off to a nice start. Robbie in his career has statistically been a better hitter after the All-Star break. I wish I wrote down the stats they flashed on the broadcast tonight that showed his 1st half vs. 2nd half numbers but I wasn't thinking. But take my word for it, his 2nd halves have been better than his firsts. And his first half this year was one to forget. 2 for 4 with a 3-run shot isn't a bad beginning. A-Rod, well, he's just A-Rod. On the field, he's been quietly (in my opinion) having a pretty good year. Off the field, well, that's a different story. But tonight he hit his 20th longball, raised his average to .318, and knocked in his 54th and 55th RBI of the season. I don't think he'll be able to catch Josh Hamilton for the most RBI, but he'll make a run at the batting title and the HR title. Take that to the bank. Johnny Damon, please hurry back. I like Brett Gardner and all, but let's face it, he's a big bust so far. I didn't think he'd do worse than Melky, but I was wrong. I know the sample size is a lot smaller and a few base hits will change things but he looks overmatched right now. It's definitely not his time. Finally, the most encouraging stat of the night is that the Yankees had 6 2-out RBI. Tonight was all about getting off on the good foot, and the offense did that. Let's build on it and roll it into a nice long winning streak.
How great is the Yankee bullpen right now? David Robertson, Edwar Ramirez, and LaTroy Hawkins combined for 3 perfect innings, striking out 6 collectively. In their last 10 games, the Yankees bullpen has thrown 28.1 innings, allowing 11 hits, 6 walks, 6 earned runs, and has struck out 32 hitters. For those of you without a calculator, the ERA works out to 1.91. Not too shabby. Some might even say lights out. I think we can safely say that we're better off with Joba in the rotation. The guys in the pen have kicked it up a notch and it's going to win us some ballgames.
I don't think we could have asked for a better start to the 2nd half tonight. Great pitching from the starter. Great pitching from the pen. Timely hitting. 7 runs. Yeah, that'll do. Let's build on it. There's plenty of baseball left to play. We ain't done yet.
Peace, love and Pinstripes,
Thursday, July 17, 2008
It's being reported that the Yankees have reached a tentative agreement with recently released slugger Richie Sexson. While I'm not a big Sexson fan, the move makes sense. The Yanks are desperate for a right handed bat with some pop and they get that with Sexson. Sexson is having a good year against LHPs - .344 AVG/.423 OBP/.623 SLG. For his career, Sexson is .265/.369/.510. The Yanks have a league leading 1031 ABs against LHPs this year. Collectively, they're hitting .257 (9th best in AL), with a .338 OBP (4th best in AL), and a slugging percentage of .394 (9th best in AL).
Sexson's bat will only improve the Yanks lineup when they go up against LHPs. He's definitely a better option than Wilson Betemit or Shelley Duncan. This is another low risk, high reward signing by Brian Cashman. The Yanks are looking at a price tag of about $161,000 as Seattle is picking up the rest. Chump change if you think about it.
The real question is what will John Sterling come up with when Sexson goes deep for the 1st time? "It is high. It is far. It is gone. Richie Sexson. Getting sexy with it." Or better yet, Sterling will channel his inner Borat and exclaim, "It is high. It is far. It is gone. Richie Sexson. Sexson time. It's niiice." Now that would be a call I could get behind.
Peace, love and Pinstripes,
I'm still out here, just decided to take a brief hiatus during the ASB. A little free time to recharge my batteries for the 2nd half. I'll most likely post something tomorrow morning/afternoon. I will leave you with this. It''s my cheers and jeers for the All Star Game. Feel free to add your own.
Cheers to Terry Francona. I have to give Terry Francona a lot of credit as he exhibited a lot of class with how he managed and respected the Yankees during the game. It was real classy to pull A-Rod and Jeter mid-inning so they could receive the proper accolades from the fans. He also used Mo at just the right time. Well done Terry. Well done. Much respect due to you.
Jeers to the FOX broadcast and baseball analysts (TV/radio) everywhere. Am I the only one out there that thought Dioner Navarro was safe at the plate? I keep hearing everyone talk about how great Nate McLouth's throw was, which it was, but the tag was too high and it looked to me that Navarro was well across the plate before the glove made contact with his thigh. I haven't heard anyone mention that at all. Maybe I need new contacts but he sure looked safe to me.
Jeers to A-Rod for leaving the game before it was over. I don't think he even stayed for 9 innings.
Cheers to MLB for the pre-game ceremonies. Chilling watching all of those HOFers take their place on the field. Goosebumps. It reminded me of being at Old Timers Day a few years ago.
Jeers to the bleacher creatures for their roll call. You should have gone around the horn. I dislike the Sox as much as anybody, but they were on our team for that 1 day.
Cheers to Josh Hamilton. Watching the derby was fun again. Now just revamp the rules b/c he should have won.
Jeers to ESPN for again thinking the Derby would end in 2 hours. If you pulled up the program guide for the event, they had it listed as 2 hours, 8-10. When will they learn that the first round takes that long?
Peace, love and Pinstripes,
Monday, July 14, 2008
I was in Toronto when I heard the news that Yankee legend Bobby Murcer had passed away. A fellow fan asked me if I had heard when we were standing outside the team hotel. He found out via a text message. As soon as it sunk in, I was instantly sad. It kind of put a huge damper on the night. I felt really bad for his fellow colleagues at the YES Network. You could see unbelievable levels of sadness on their faces when they walked off the team bus. Girardi looked crushed. David Cone had walked back from shopping and I told him I was sorry to hear about the loss of his friend. He exhaled deeply and said it was tough. I never met Bobby in person but having watched him on TV for so many years, I kind of felt like I knew him. It's definitely a sad time and he'll be missed.
Godspeed Bobby. Rest in peace.
I was in Toronto for Friday and Saturdays' Yankee games. Friday's game as everyone knows, stunk out loud. The offense couldn't get anything going at all off Roy Halladay. Doc was absolutely cruising. I don't think I ever saw so many ground balls to first and second in any game I've ever watched or played in. It was unreal. I thought the Yankees had a shot at chasing Halladay early as he threw a lot of pitches in the first 2 innings. But then the Yankees went back to being aggressive and it didn't work out too well, much like it hasn't all season. Halladay is one of the best pitchers in the game and the Yankees didn't do themselves any favors by swinging early in counts. It's been one of their downfalls all season. In my opinion, it's the biggest reason why they're not scoring. I think I've mentioned that maybe, 1, 2, or I don't know, a billion times. The Yanks do much better when they show patience at the plate. It definitely ruined a good outing by Joba.
The second game featured a new Yankees lineup and they exploded right out of the box. Jeter set the tone right from the get go when he put the 2nd pitch into the Yankee bullpen for his 200th career HR. No better place to hit a milestone HR than into your own bullpen. The offense jumped all over the Jays. It made the game much more fun. I still have no idea how Rasner escaped with a win and how he settled down, only giving up the 4 first inning runs. It was a solid win all around. The bullpen, as it has been most of the year, was fantastic. That runs my in-person viewing of the Yankees this season to 2-1. Not bad. I've got 6 games to go. I'll take a 6-3 record.
I didn't see a lot of the 3rd game, but it was almost a carbon copy of the first one. A late 9th inning HR by the Giambino accounted for the only run. Not the type of game I wanted to see them have going into the break. I've got high hopes for the 2nd half of the season. They Yanks will be fine if the offense can get it together. Damon should be back soon. Matsui's rehab is progressing. Brian Bruney isn't far off. They've got a run in them. I can feel it.
The fans were absolutely brutal to A-Rod. I've never heard him booed like that when I've seen them play up there. Alex's alleged antics and impending divorce have made him an even bigger media target. I spend a lot of time hanging around the team hotel hoping to get an autograph. This time, those of us that were there hoping to get a signature or two, were joined by about 7 members of the paparazzi, who were there trying to get shots of Alex and his wife/children who were in town. C-Rod walked right by me into a side entrance. She was within arms length. I think I was the only one who recognized her. Anyway, these photo peeps are relentless. On Saturday night, Alex and family left in an Escalade and the paparazzi jumped into traffic snapping photos while they were stopped at a red light. They then all followed Alex wherever he ended up going. It reminded me of the videos I've seen on E! where they're snapping photos of Britney or Lindsey in their rides. It was a little nutty.
On the autograph side of things, I ended up getting David Cone to sign a 1998 World Series ball. The Blue Jays run a promotion called "Flashback Fridays" on every Friday home game. The featured guest signs autographs before the game. Coney was that guest. I also later got him at the hotel after the game. He signed that ball on the sweet spot and included his perfect game date. Coney is one of the nicest guys you can ever run into. He took a lot of time to sign autographs, pose for pictures, and talk to whoever wanted to chat. He signed pretty much every time he came to, or left the hotel. Other than that, I also got Andy Pettitte on the 1998 World Series ball (he and Cone are the only 2 on it for now) when he was getting on the team bus. I also got Andy again during batting practice on his own ball. I could have gotten others but I didn't really want them to be honest with you. The biggest disappointment was that I didn't get Mariano Rivera to sign the back of his jersey. Mo usually signs at the hotel once per trip and that ended up being Sunday this trip. And since I had to leave, I missed out. No worries though. There's always next trip.
Peace, love and Pinstripes,
Thursday, July 10, 2008
That was a pretty ho-hum game. I think the Yanks offense took the night off. Perhaps their hits were all sent to Toronto by mistake. Let's hope so because 2 runs isn't going to fly against the Jays, especially when facing the expected Jays rotation of Roy Halladay, Jesse Litsch, and Brian Tallet. The Yanks again had some chances tonight but again came up short. That's happened more times this year than any Yankee fan wants to admit. Cano whiffed in the 1st with 2 down and runners on the corners. A-Rod flies out with a runner on 2nd in the 3rd. Abreu strikes out with 2 on and 2 out in the 5th. A-Rod grounds out with 2 on and 2 out in the 7th. That right there was the key spot in the game. The Yanks finally broke through and tied the game. They had Maholm on the ropes and just couldn't complete the knockout. They then had 2 cracks at tying it up in there 9th but the Pirates held on for victory. It was a good game. Just had the wrong ending.
A-Rod had the worst night at the plate, going 0-4. He's 1-12 in his last 3 games. Maybe the impending loss of kazillions of dollars is weighing on his mind. Whatever the reason, he needs to come through when they need him to. He's been doing extremely well since returning from his injury. And I know he's not going to be money every time. But he's the reigning MVP. He's arguably the best to ever play the game. He gets paid to deliver and tonight, he didn't.
Surprise surprise. Mike Mussina got no run support. What's new right? The Yankees have now scored 2 runs or less in 5 of Moose's last 6 starts. It's funny how that always seems to happen to certain pitchers. Moose pitched another great game tonight. Any starter that starts the game with an ERA of 3.64 and manages to lower it, pitched well in my book. At least they bailed him out and he didn't get tagged with the loss. That would have made this card carrying member of the Mike Mussina Fan Club very unhappy. This could very easily have been the year Moose won 20 and his first Cy Young award. He's got 11 wins going into the break and the Yanks have lost in 6 of his starts by scoring 2 or less runs. This offense needs to give my man some love.
I guess Jose Veras is human. The 2 runs he gave up tonight were the first runs he's allowed in 9 games. It's only the 2nd game he's allowed a run in his last 17 appearances. I'll let this one slide. Jose has been doing a bang up job all year. He's been great as the 7th inning guy and this one outing isn't going to change that. I hope Girardi keeps going to him.
As expected Jason Giambi lost out on the final vote. I heard some rumblings that there was a big movement out there between Yankee haters (Sox fans, Mets fans, Rays fans) to vote for Longoria. Whatever. The Big G's numbers speak for themselves. You can make a strong argument that Giambi is most deserving of starting the ASG at first. Don't get me wrong. Everyone's favorite ogre, Kevin Youkilis is deserving as well. Arguably more so than Giambi. Giambi has been absolutely the man since spouting his 'stache. I pulled these #s from Pete Abraham's blog to illustrate that point. These #s are as of 5/23 - 7/7:
PA: 158; AB: 129; R: 28; H: 39; 2B: 7; 3B: 1; HR: 10; RBI: 32; BB: 20; SO: 27; BA: .302; OBP: .424; SLG: .605; OPS: 1.029
I haven't heard anything about Terry Frankandbeans naming Giambi as a replacement for the injured David Ortiz. It would be nice if he did. It should happen, but me thinks it won't.
The Yanks are now off to Toronto, where I'll be meeting up with them for Friday and Saturday's game. I have tickets to all 3 games but I have to skip out on Sunday's game for my nephew's baptism. I'm super-psyched that I get to see Joba vs. Doc Halladay. That should be a good one. I'm not sure if I'll get to blog at all from the Great White North, but I've been known to check in. You guys hold down the fort and worse case scenario, I'll be back Sunday. Enjoy the games.
Peace, love and Pinstripes,
Since I missed yesterday's game (stupid meetings) I'll direct anyone in reaing a solid write-up to click here and check out Jason from Heartland Pinstripes post. as always, quality stuff. Like a Jason Giambi mustache, Jason always comes through in the clutch.
Rumor has it that the people running the All-Star Fanfest are big fans of the 'stache. So much so that they've added a special attraction to the Fanfest. And friends, it's going to be the huge. I'm predicting this will be the most popular attraction there with people lining up to go again and again. Drum roll please......baraddadaddadaddadaddadadda......it's......
The Jason Giambi Mustache Ride. It's basically a big hairy teeter-totter. People will be getting on and getting off all day. All aboard!!
Get out and vote people! We've still got time!!
Added note: I have the feeling that even if the Big G doesn't win the final vote, which I don't think he will, he'll still end up on the team as Francona's chosen replacement for David Ortiz. No way this doesn't happen.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Andrew Eugene Pettitte. He was the man tonight baby. 8 stellar shutout innings. He threw strikes, kept runners of base, and pitched his way to his 10th win. Andy has been absolutely outstanding lately. 7-1 in his last 10 starts. He rebounded quite nicely from his last start against the Red Sox. The key today for me was that Andy didn't walk anyone. The Rays are a speedy team and the last thing the Yanks need is to let these guys have at the basepaths. Andy has always been a stronger pitcher in the 2nd half. I've said it before. I'll say it again. Looks like the 2nd half started early.
The Yankees need this from Pettitte. Joba, Moose, and Pettitte are a strong 1-2-3. If the Yanks can get solid outings from these 3, which they have been, we could be looking at a serious run if the offense gets going, and if the bottom 2 in the rotation can squeeze out a win here and there. Rasner and Ponson don't excite me too much. I think we're going to see some other guys get those starts real soon. I hate to say this but Kei Igawa is having a pretty solid year in Scranton. Igawa is currently 8-4 with an ERA of 3.82. Maybe he gets another shot? Igawa right now is too good for AAA but not good enough for MLB. He's been a colossal bust so far. But at the rate Sidney Ponson is going, he probably won't do any worse.
Still feeling a little underwhelmed with the offense, but not as much as I was yesterday. But not too many teams have great offensive explosions against Scott Kazmir, so I guess it's all good. Robbie Cano continues to impress. His 11 pitch at-bat against Jason Hammel was the at-bat of the game. That AB was a great indication that Cano has finally turned the corner. Robbie had another multi-hit game tonight. The 8th in his last 13 games. Robbie hitting is going to be clutch. He's a natural hitter and at the end of the year he'll be hitting about .300. Mark my words. 5 Yanks had 2 hits tonight. Abreu being one and boy did he need those. Bobby has been slumping, 0-15 in his last 4 games, and 4-30 in his last 8. Any night your 2, 3 and 5 hitters rack up 2 hits is a good night I suppose.
When Melky was down 0-2 in the 8th and was 1 strike away from a golden sombrero, I was sitting there thinking, man they got to trade for someone that can hit. I like his range and arm, but he's been horrible at the plate. And sure enough, he goes yard. Build on that Melk. Build on it.
I blogged a few days ago that the Yanks would be in trouble against the Sox and the Rays with Posada behind the plate. Girardi must have heeded my advice because Molina has been behind the dish the last 4 games. He's had an amazing arm all year. I had no idea coming into tonight's game he has gunned down 12 straight runners and how high his caught stealing percentage was. I don't remember the exact % of caught runners but it's a few percentage points under 50%, like 47 point something, one of the tops, if not the top in MLB. Jose Mo has been a blessing for the Yanks this year. His bat has certainly cooled but you can't put a price on valuable his arm has been. Definitely one of Cashman's better signings in my opinion.
Is it me or has Jeter's range improved in the last few days? Granted Dioner Navarro isn't the fastest dude out there but he had to cover some serous ground to nab him at 2nd with his patented jump throw. That was awesome. He's also gotten to a few balls that I thought were surely destined for center field. Regardless, I'm liking what I'm seeing from the Captain. People think he's overrated and I'm inclined to disagree. And I'm not being biased when I say that. Here's what I find funny: Jeter won last year's Gold Glove, which is voted on by managers and coaches. Yet when players are surveyed about who they feel is overrated, Jeter tops the list. Seems odd to me that coaches/managers respect his defense but everybody bags on his defense and thinks he's overrated. I'm sorry, but I respect the opinion of coaches/managers more than pretty much anyone else. People need to stop hating.
Tomorrow is a day game which is good and bad. I can't watch it on TV because of work but I can listen to it on my radio, though I can never devote 100% attention to it. I'd miss it anyway if it were a night game due to softball. So I'll take what I can get. Sidney Ponson gets the ball tomorrow. Ugh. In his 2 starts as a Yankee he's allowed 14 hits and 7 walks in 11 innings. Surprisingly, he's 1-0 in those 2 starts, the beneficiary of some run support as the Yanks scored 27 runs in his 2 starts. I think they'll need all the runs they can tomorrow. It'll be tough because they always struggle with Edwin Jackson. In his 2 starts against them this year, Jackson is 1-0, giving up only 1 run in 13 innings. I'm not excited about their chances but they're definitely capable of running this winning streak to 4 and picking up another game on the first place Rays. Sorry, that's still weird to say.
Peace, love and Pinstripes,
Monday, July 7, 2008
It's been almost 24 hours since last night's game between the Sox and Yankees ended with Brett Gardner's game winning extra inning single of Jonathan Papelbon, and I apologize for not getting to this post sooner. Crazy day. Last night's game is still freshly etched in my mind so it should be easy to talk about.
Brett Gardner's at bat against Papelbon was classic. He fought off the best that Papelbon could throw and finally connected when he got his pitch. It was great to see the rookie come through like that. I definitely wasn't expecting it. Not sure that anyone was. I got the feeling after he fouled off the 2nd pitch that Brett had a decent chance. Like I mentioned, he fought off everything Papelbon threw. It was only a matter of time. I think Gardner will develop into a fine major leaguer. He reminds me of Jacoby Ellsbury with his speed, though has bat isn't yet on that level. I think with time that will come around. Question is, can he develop that on the major league level, on a contending team? Not sure now is the time. But with how poorly Melky Cabrera has been lately, he might as well get a shot.
Mariano Rivera. What can I say? He's continuing to have his best season ever, and that's saying a lot considering how long he's pitched and how great he is. He's perfect in save opportunities (23 for 23). His ERA (1.12) is currently lower than any full season ERA he's ever posted (1.38 in 2005). His WHIP (0.64) is also lower than any WHIP he's ever had in a full season (0.87 in 2005). And he's currently holding opponents to a batting average of .164. His best season was in 1999 when he held opponents to an average of .176, narrowly beating 2005 (.177). It's hard to believe that the best closer ever has gotten better 14 years into his career. The highlight of yesterday's 2 inning performance was the strikeout of Manny Ramirez. It didn't look like Manny even cared to be there as his bat never left the shoulder on 3 straight pitches. To Mo's credit he pretty much nailed the corners. Ah Mo, what would we do without you?
Joba pitched pretty well. He made 1 real mistake and that was walking Ellsbury in the 5th. He got himself into a huge hole allowing the 1st 3 runners to reach base but promptly worked himself out of trouble by striking out Lugo and Kevin Cash. He needed to finish off Ellsbury to get out of that mess but I think he tried to get too cute with his location and it ended up biting him in the rear. He was on cruise control up until that point. Had he not thrown a passed ball that scored Youkilis, it would have likely been bases loaded with 2 outs when Ellsbury stepped in. Joba came oh so close to getting out of that jam but like I said, he got too cute with trying to locate. Credit to Ellsbury for not chasing. And that of course opened up the door for one of the hottest hitters to knock in 2. Dustin Pedroia is having a great season. He's been the man at the plate over the last 2 weeks or so. DP would be the best 2nd baseman in the league of not for Texas' Ian Kinsler. Kinz is flat out the man. If you check the stats for AL 2Bs you'll see he's the leader in pretty much every statistical category. He should be starting the All-Star game but that's for a whole other debate.
I don't think it's any secret that Joba and Kevin Youkilis don't like each other. Youkilis came in with a hard, and clean, slide on Joba when he scored on a passed ball. I didn't really think it was that bad. Joba follows that up with a pitch behind Youkilis. Youk of course immediately looked like he was going to throw a tizzy. Ah the rivalry. I'm not a big Youk fan, but Joba didn't really have a reason to throw that pitch. I'm sure he thought the slide was a little much but it looked clean to me. A bad slide would be the one that Coco Crisp pulled against Tampa Bay a few weeks back. Now that was bush. He should have taken the hit and walked to first base when he got plunked by James Shields. His slide was a little over the top.
Despite the win and the 5 runs, I'm still feeling underwhelmed by the offense. I credit the comeback yesterday more to Boston's bullpen being bad than the Yankees lineup being good. The biggest bright spot continues to be Robbie Cano. I think it's safe to say the corner has been turned. His average is up 25 points since June 22, and 35 points since 6/13. In his last 12 games, Robbie is 19 for 48 (.396) with 7 multi-hit games and 11 RBI. He's finally showing signs of life at the plate. It took way too long. The Yankees need Robbie to be productive if they want to make a run at the postseason. It's amazing how abysmal this offense is. There isn't really a good excuse for their poor performance. Their biggest problem is when they don't play their game, which is being patient at the plate, taking pitches, working counts, and swinging at the right pitches. The aggressive approach hasn't worked. Then again, the patient approach hasn't exactly led to a lot of runs either. It's a head-scratcher. The pitching was supposed to be the weak point. Not the offense.
This is hard to say but the division leading Rays are coming to town. The Rays hold a 8.5 game lead over the Yanks, which isn't insurmountable by any means, but it's going to be real tough to catch those guys. They're just too good. If you want to see what a baseball team should be, look at the Rays. They're playing good, fundamentally sound baseball. Great pitching. Great hitting. Solid defense. I don't see them letting up. The under-performing Yanks can win these ball games. If history repeats itself, which it usually does, the Yanks are on the verge of tearing the league apart. Over the last several seasons, the Yanks have started out poorly and finished stronger than anyone. As the weather heats up, so do the Yanks. Last year after 89 games, they were 45-44 and 9.5 out. They won 94 games and the wild card. In 2006 they heated up much more quickly then they did this year or in 2007. In 2005, they were 48-41 after 89 games, 1 game better than this year. A few months later, they finished atop the division with 95 wins. They could be in a lot worse shape. Fact is they're only 3 games in back of Boston in the loss column. That's nothing. I'm amazed that they're in the position they're in and that's a good thing. It should be a fun and interesting 2nd half. Hopefully Cashman goes out and gets some reinforcements because now is not the time to sell. They're in good shape.
Peace, love and Pinstripes,