Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Yankees Name Their 5th Starter And The Winner By TKO Is......

According to Chad over at the Lohud Yankees Blog the Yankees have named Phil Hughes as the team's 5th starter. I for one applaud that decision. That shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who keeps up with this blog frequently. I've always been a Hughes guy. I'm glad he'll be the one getting the ball every 5th day. I like Joba (sort of) and I think he'd do fine as a starter, but if there's one spot open and 2 to choose from, I'm going with Phil. Good call by the Yanks.

More on this later. I am not able to dive into the details while at work. I'm sure this is going to be a point of debate and discussion by Yankee fans everywhere. Let the games begin.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Phil Hughes Vs. Joba Chamberlain: Round 4

Sorry I'm a few days late on this but better late than never. The battle for the 5th spot in the rotation continued on Monday when both Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain pitched. Hughes faced the Phillies while Joba pitched in an intra-squad game. I didn't get to see any of the action, so I'm going off the box scores and the observations of those in the know.

On the surface, Joba picked this round up. Hughes got sacked with the loss against the Phillies, allowing 4 earned runs in 4.1 IP. He gave up 3 HRs, one being a walkoff. Joba had a much better line, throwing 5 innings, allowing 2 earned runs on 6 hits. The best part of Joba's line was that 64% of his pitches went for strikes. That's a pretty good strike-to-ball ratio. He allowed only 1 walk so his control seemed to be there.

Now if you dig a little deeper into Hughes' outing, you'll find that it wasn't as bad as it reads in the box score. According to Chad Jennings at the Lohud Yankees blog, the wind was blowing out at the ballpark. Chad's thoughts were that 2 of the HRs, one of which was the game winner, were probably aided by the wind. Scratch those 2 hits from the box score and Phil's final line improves dramatically: 4.1 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 6 K. Not too shabby. The K total on its own is pretty impressive. Phil's always had a pretty good K/9 #. Last year he whiffed 96 in 86 IP, which is more than 1 per inning. The swing-and-a-miss for strike 3 is going to get him out of some jams I'd imagine.

Chad's blog entry also features quotes from both Hughes and Girardi. Both were extremely pleased with Phil's outing. Girardi thought it was Hughes' best outing of the spring. Phil "felt really good with all of his pitches" and he also felt that his changeups were "the best changeups" he's ever thrown. Their thoughts on his outing certainly make it out to be a positive one. There's definitely more to the story that what was in the box score.

Joba's outing was another step in the right direction. After 2 awful outings, JC has kicked up his game and strung together 2 straight solid outings. From reading Chad's blow-by-blow of the game, I would definitely call it Joba's best outing of the spring. As I mentioned above, 64% of his pitches went for strikes. For me, anything above 60% is a solid strike-to-ball ratio. One of the things I look at in the spring from pitchers is their control. Joba's getting better with it. He's progressing which is what I want to see start over start.

Despite the thoughts by Phil and Girardi, I have to give round 4 to Joba. He's getting better with each outing and this one was his best so far. That's got to count for something. I now have Hughes with a slight edge on my scorecard. I though Phil clearly won rounds 1 and 2. I thought round 3 could have gone either way. I called it a draw. I could have given it to Joba based on his improvement. I could have given it to Hughes because at the time he had the better spring. If I add round 4 to the mix, I still give Hughes the slight overall edge. I do think Hughes is the better choice for the 5th spot. I think they should both start but if it has to come down to one over the other, I'm going with Phil. I've always maintained that in my estimation he's the better pitcher. I see no reason to change that opinion. I also think that if one has to be at the back end of the bullpen, Joba is better suited for that. He has more of the "closer mindset" and I think while both would do well in that role, Joba will do better.

The battle for the 5th spot in the rotation did pick up a casualty this week. The Yankees possibly released Chad Gaudin, who was "in the mix" for the 5th starter spot. If true, then there were 4. In addition to the previously discussed Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain, there's Alfredo Aceves and Sergio Mitre. Aceves and Mitre have had decent springs but there's no way that either is seriously in the mix for the 5 spot. I'd be shocked if either were named the 5th starter. There are only 11 days left until the season starts so a decision on who the 5th man will be should be coming soon, possibly as early as tomorrow, or so some people think. I think the Yankees know who they're going with. I personally hope it's Phil Hughes.

Who do you think they'll go with?

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A-Rod Is Shuffling Off To Buffalo

One of my in-laws neighbors had a crazy thing happen to them today. They had a baby and it was delivered on one of the major roadways here in Buffalo. I guess the little bugger didn't want to wait until they got to the hospital. Anyway, the story was supposed to be on the news tonight. Not wanting to wait for the broadcast, I went to the station's website to see if they had a story about it. I couldn't find it but another headline caught my eye. It read, "Alex Rodriguez In Buffalo." What what what? A-Rod is going to be in my hometown? What what what? I knew the chances of him being here on leisure were extremely remote considering the start of the regular season is drawing near. So what could he be here for?

The article didn't have much to it but it did link to a bigger article in the NY Times. Long story short, Alex is coming to town to meet with the investigators looking into Dr. Anthony Galea, the Canadian doctor who allegedly has dabbled in prescribing HGH to people. I did not know that the investigation was based out of Buffalo. Very cool. Alex is scheduled to meet with the investigators on Friday. Knowing me, if I wasn't working, I'd probably hang around the attorney's offices all day trying to get an autograph.

Thankfully I'm working so I won't be that guy. I'm sure somebody will be stalking him. There's always one.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Catch "The Lineup" On MSG

Sorry for the lack of posts these last few days. It's hard to write something when you don't get to see much of the action. Plan tonight is to write a post about Phil/Joba but that will depend on the free time the family gives me. I wanted to pass along 1 piece of information you might find of interest.

The MSG Network is debuting a new series tonight called "The Lineup." The premise of the show is to determine the best baseball players in the city of New York's history. That should be interesting and worth checking out. The show debuts tonight @ 10:30 ET. Here's some more info from a press release (sounds like someone can win a signed baseball by Don Mattingly):

“The Lineup: New York’s All-Time Best Baseball Players,” a new original series and interactive fantasy game that will determine the best baseball players in the history of New York, premier tonight on MSG Network with “Catchers,” the first of ten weekly episodes. Each 30-minute episode of “The Lineup” will present a number of nominees for consideration at each position, from the Yankees, Mets, New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers, with one episode dedicated to the best New York manager of all-time. MSG’s Fran Healy will host a panel, consisting of Hall of Fame Mets catcher Gary Carter, former Yankee bullpen ace Sparky Lyle, New York Magazine contributing editor and baseball aficionado Will Leitch, and executive vice president of the Elias Sports Bureau Steve Hirdt. The panel will whittle down a larger list of players from each position and determine the top five from each spot on the diamond. By the end of each episode, they will crown the top player at each position and name him to the official “Lineup” card.

With an interactive fantasy game launched in conjunction with the on-air program and hosted on, viewers can see how they stack up against The Lineup's experts. Fans will try to predict the five players who will be nominated each week and ultimately who will be selected as the starter in the final “Lineup.” Participants will receive points for each correct pick and will be eligible for weekly prizes such as signed memorabilia from baseball greats like Don Mattingly, Joe Torre, Reggie Jackson and Derek Jeter. At the end of the series, the participant with the most points will win a Grand Prize. The site will also feature chats for fans to interact and debate each position, quizzes about the nominated players, photo and video galleries, and player statistics for fans to comb through before making their picks.

The first episode of The Lineup airs TONIGHT, Tuesday, March 23rd at 10:30 p.m. ET on MSG Network. Head over to and make your picks for the best catcher in NY baseball history and enter for your chance to win this week's signed baseball by Don Mattingly!

Enjoy. Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Friday, March 19, 2010

Nick Swisher's Charity "Swish's Wishes" Gets Some Love

A week or so ago I blogged about how I wanted to donate to a Yankee-affiliated charity this year. I have decided to donate to Nick Swisher's charity, Swish's Wishes, which is, according to their website, dedicated to enriching lives and lifting the spirits of children who are facing vital health issues while providing care, comfort and support through the most difficult of times. Seems like a great cause.

My pledge is this: For every HR Nick Swisher hits I will donate $10 to his charity.

Thankfully, I am not alone in this call to action. Dan (from Bronx Baseball Daily and Was Watching) and Conor (from 6 Pound 8 Ounce Baby Joba) have stepped up to the plate to donate as well. We would sincerely appreciate it if you joined us in our mission to raise money for Nick's charity. No donation is too small. How much you'd donate is personal preference. Personally, I'm looking to donate between $200-300, which is how I came up with $10 per HR. Nick hit 29 dingers last year so it would have been $290 had I done this last year.

If you want to contribute, please let us know. We're (hopefully) going to track the overall amount on our respective blogs and we'd love to add your pledge amount to the total. We encourage you to participate as it's for a good cause, but no one should feel as if they have to. the more the merrier.

Dan, Conor and I thank you for your time.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Phil Hughes Vs. Joba Chamberlain: Round 3

The Yankees Opening Day lineup appears to be set. The biggest question left to answer before ST ends is who will be the Yankees 5th starter. The top 2 contenders are Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain. Alfredo Aceves is the dark horse. Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre are the also-rans. The smart money is on either Hughes or Chamberlain. I've been breaking down the matchup after each of their first 2 ST outings. On my unoffical scorecard, I've got Hughes up 2-0 after the 1st 2 rounds. If you're interested in checking out the 2 round recaps, click here and here. Hughes' 3rd outing of the spring was on Tuesday. Joba's 3rd was yesterday. Before breaking it down, I must say that I didn't see either of their outings. ST and TV haven't been very kind to me. I'm going off of the box score, which I don't like to do, and other people's accounts of the games. Having said that let's take a look at round 3.

By all accounts, both Hughes and Joba had their best outings of the spring the 3rd time out. For Joba, that wasn't hard to do. He entered the game having been shelled twice. His first 2 starts were far from pretty. His 3rd go 'round sounded much better. JC allowed 1 earned run over 3 official innings (4 if you count the extra inning he threw). This was a huge step in the right direction considering he allowed 11 earned runs in his first 2 starts. When asked for his thoughts on Joba's outing, Joe Girardi said, "Outstanding. Worked quickly. Attacked the zone. He’s got to go out and throw more, and that’s what you want to see. Quality.” Joe later added, "I thought he worked quicker today. I thought his mechanics were sound today. And he attacked. He was ahead in the count most of the day. He had fastball command today." Or as Chad Jennings @ the Lohud Yankees Blog put it, he had "better pace, better mechanics, better command." Joba's outing was a step in the right direction.

Calling Hughes' 3rd outing his best is a little harder to call than Joba's but it sounds like to all observers it was his best outing. Phil pitched 4 scoreless innings, allowing only 3 hits and a walk. Chad Jennings noted in his blog, "What’s more important — and impressive — is that Hughes got those results while still working on his changeup. He threw a first-pitch changeup for probably the first time in his life, and he threw a 2-1 changeup with runners on base, inducing a groundball." Talk about an astute observation. Hughes added, "I threw some in counts where normally I would never, ever do it. And I got good results with it.” It is pretty impressive that PH did so well when working on his secondary pitches. If he can finely tune them, who knows what he;ll be capable of? Sky's the limit in my book.

I've maintained all along that I'm a Phil Hughes guy. If there's one open spot in the rotation and it's between Phil and Joba, put me on Team Hughes. I'd love to see both start, but if there can be only one, I hope it's Hughes. I think he better pitches and has more of a starter's mentality. Joba has good stuff also, but I think his mindset is more like that of a back-of-the-bullpen RP. But he definitely has the tools to do well as a starter. I just don't think he's there yet.

I'm going to call round 3 a draw but I could probably give the slight edge to Joba based on the improvement. But I could also give the slight edge to Hughes because he's been far-and-away the better of the two so far this spring. If anyone wants to share some insight that could possibly tip the scales in either direction, please do. As of now, my unofficial scorecard has Hughes up 2-0 with a split in the 3rd.

It was also mentioned over at the Lohud Yankees Blog that Girardi said each of guys up for the 5th spot (Hughes, Joba, Aceves, Mitre and Gaudin) will get at least at least one more outing before the Yankees start eliminating people from the competition. My money says that it'll be a 3-horse race after they all pitch, with Mitre and Gaudin getting dropped. I still think is's Phil's spot to lose. Joba has some work to do if he wants it. If Alfredo Aceves keeps pitching the way he has been, he could take the spot, and it would be deserved.

There's just less than 3 weeks until Opening Day which isn't a lot of time considering they each pitch every 5 days. They don't have much time to waste. Meanwhile, don't waste your time and enjoy of the best online poker room playing with Littlewoods Poker.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Is It Opening Day Yet? Let's Talk The Yankees Lineup

It really needs to be Opening Day already. I'm getting kind of tired of not having games to watch. Between the slew of day games and the ones that aren't on TV, I feel like I'm missing a lot. !8 days and counting. Hurry up and get here.

The Yankees debuted their most-likely Opening Day lineup last night. For those that missed it, it went as follows:

  1. Jeter - SS - R

  2. Johnson - DH - L

  3. Teixeira - 1B -S

  4. A-Rod - 3B - R

  5. Cano - 2B - L

  6. Posada - C - S

  7. Granderson - LF - L

  8. Swisher - RF - S

  9. Gardner - CF - L

There's been a lot of discussion about the lineup recently. I might as well join in on the fun. For my money, it's pretty damn near perfect. Here's why:

  • It alternates pretty well with no same-side hitters hitting back-to-back. That's always a plus, especially once you start facing the bullpen. It'll cause opposing managers to use more of their bullpen if they want to play the L/R matchups.

  • Having Jeter lead off is the best thing the Yankees can do. It worked very well last year and is probably one of Girardi's best decisions. It will cut down on his GIDPs, something he tends to do quite often. If Gardner is on base ahead of him, there will be speed to either steal a bag and open up first to prevent the DP. Having the lefty Johnson hitting behind him should also cut down on the DPs if Johnson can pull the ball, assuming of course, he doesn't walk.

  • There was a lot of debate over who to bat 2nd, Johnson or Granderson. I've got to go with the OBP here and Johnson is an OBP machine. He sees a lot of pitches and he draws a lot of walks. Granderson is more of a free-swinger and tends to strike out. It makes perfect sense to back Nick 2nd and slide CG down near the bottom of the order. Since Nick sees a lot of pitches, Tex and A-Rod will get some good looks at what the pitcher has. It'll also drive up the pitch count and get the Yankees to the pen sooner.

  • The 3 and 4 holes are no-brainers. The reigning MVP hitting 3rd. The perennial MVP hitting 4th. Awesome. Tex took off last year once A-Rod returned from the DL. With a full season of protection from Alex (knock on wood), Tex could easily repeat as MVP.

  • Cano batting 5th? I like it. I think this spot could have gone 1 of 3 ways. Cano, Granderson, or Posada. Granderson has the pop but again strikes out a bit, so i think he's better lower in the lineup. Posada could hit 5th and will probably offer A-Rod a little more protection that Robbie, but than you stack 2 lefties together and I there's a bigger benefit to avoiding that than having Jorge bat behind Alex. Robbie is no slouch at the plate. He's a pure hitter and I think he'll excel batting 5th. Early prediction: Robbie will get some MVP love this year. I'm predicting he knocks in 120.

  • Posada batting 6th is the most logical choice with Robbie hitting 5th. He hits from both sides of the dish, so it again breaks up the lineup. He has some pop and hits for a decent average.

  • Granderson is best suited for the 7 hole. It's low enough in the lineup that the Ks won't have as big an impact. It'll sting a little against LHPs, but he's the obvious choice for the 7 spot.

  • Nick Swisher needs to be as far down the lineup as possible. To me, Nicky Swish will always be "The Rally Killer." His #s with RISP last year were horrible. If he has to kill a rally, I'd rather it be with fewer guys on base. I also like his high OBP at the bottom of the lineup. He'll be on base when the lineup turns over and that'll give the top of the order more RBI chances. I'd bat him 9th if the Yankees didn't have Gardner in the lineup.

  • Gardner's speed at the bottom of the order is a huge plus. It should help Jeter cut down on GIDPs. If he pulls off a steal it'll open up some RBI chances. I'm down with major speed in the 9-hole.

The Yankees lineup is set up beautifully. They're going to score a lot of runs this year. I don't think anything needs to be changed, but if anybody out there thinks it does, I'd love to hear the reasons why. Feel free to share.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Yankees And Pirates Meet And A 2+ Hour Infomercial Breaks Out

I was really excited when I got an e-mail the other day letting me know that the blackout restrictions for today's Yankees/Pirates were lifted and the game was going to air on the MLB Network. What that e-mail failed to mention is that the whole game was going to be one giant infomercial for Pirates season tickets. As the late, great Phil Rizzuto would say, "Holy Cow."

Look, I get that the Pirates want to let people know what's available to them for tickets. But to spend an entire game talking about it is a little much. Tell me that tickets are on sale and where I can find the info and be done with it. No need to tell me who's buying tickets and how many plans they got. No need to show me the operators that were standing by. No need to go over each and every plan that's offered again and again and again. I turned the game off after the Yanks pulled CC Sabathia. I turned it back on in the 8th inning and they were still talking about the tickets. I can't believe I'm saying this but I would have rather listened to Joe Buck and Tim McCarver than the Pirates' announcers. It made the game unwatchable.

As I said above I watched the game until the Yankees pulled Sabathia. I liked what I saw from the big man even though he wasn't incredibly sharp, throwing only 29 of his 57 pitches for strikes. If I remember correctly, he issued two 4-pitch walks, 1 being to the 9 hitter. He only gave up 3 hits, 1 being the HR to Iwamura. I don't know what it is about CC and left-handed NL East second basemen. They like to take him deep. Thankfully he doesn't face them that often. Overall, a solid outing. I give it a B-, which is his highest mark of the season, and that means he's getting better, which is what I like to see. According to CC's post game comments (which you can read at the Lohud Yankees Blog), CC also feels the same, saying, "I felt more together. Fastball felt more crisp. Cutters were good, down in the dirt. Changeup was a lot better. I’m definitely pleased with the progress I made today.” Me too big man. Me too.

Before I flipped the game off for good I hung around to see Jonathan Albaladejo pitch, and I use the term pitch loosely. Talk about pitching your way off the major league roster. I don't put much stock into spring training performances, but Albaladejo has looked downright awful. He's pitched in 4 games, lasting only 2 innings. He's given up 15 hits, 10 ER and has an ERA of 45. His WHIP is 9 (15 hits+2 walks+1 HBP/2 IP). I didn't think it was possible to be that bad. I know it's still early, but have fun in Scranton.

3 weeks until Opening Day. It can't get here soon enough.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Help Me Help The Yankees (Or One Of Their Players) Help Someone Else

One of the things I wanted to do this year is to donate to a Yankee-affiliated charity. By Yankee-affiliated charity I mean one of the player's official foundations, or maybe even the Yankee Universe fund. I'm going to tie the size of the donation into a statistical achievement for the player whose charity I pick. Or a team stat if I go with the Yankees Universe). I'd donate x amount of dollars per achievement. For example, if I chose CC Sabathia's PitCCh In Foundation, I might donate $10 per every win CC picks up, or $1 for every strikeout. Picking up what I'm picking down?

I do need your help though. I want to make sure I have a comprehensive list of the player's official charities. I did some Google searches and found some, but didn't break my neck searching so I'm sure there are more. The ones I found were:

  1. Derek Jeter's Turn 2 Foundation (I couldn't find how to donate so not sure they accept donations)
  2. The Jorge Posada Foundation (provides families and children affected by Craniosynostosis with emotional support and financial assistance)
  3. CC Sabathia's PitCCh In Foundation (enriching the lives of inner city youth by working to raise self-esteem through education and athletic activities)
  4. Nick Swisher's Swish's Wishes (dedicated to enriching lives and lifting the spirits of children who are facing vital health issues while providing care, comfort and support through the most difficult of times)
  5. Curtis Granderson's Grand Kids Foundation (Donations to the Grand Kids Foundation will go towards purchasing school supplies for needy families/kids, books and supplies for schools which do not get the funding they always need, establishing baseball programs as well as providing equipment and facilities in some of Michigan 's inner cities and eventually a scholarship program for graduating high school seniors)
  6. Yankees Universe - (donated to the Department of Pediatrics at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. The proceeds will go to support pediatric cancer research and care, helping to contribute to advances in the treatment of children with cancer)

I'm leaning a little bit towards chossing Swisher's charity but am on the fence about it.

I saw that Mariano Rivera has one but I couldn't find a website. I found a website for the A-Rod Family Foundation but it looked like it hadn't been updated in 3 years. If anybody has information about their charities or any others, please share the info. I would sincerely appreciate it.

Lastly, I encourage everyone out there that reads this post to play along and contribute. I think it would be pretty cool if we drummed up some dough for one of their charities. I'm not made of money so I'm not planning on dropping any major cash on this. I was thinking of something between 200-300 dollars. When it comes to donating, I think there is no such thing as a small amount so I hope some people decide to take part. I am e-mailing some of my fellow Yankee bloggers to see if this can be a little bigger than just me. I think it would be pretty cool if a bunch of us connected to give to the same charity. I think we could do a lot of good.

I'll be revisiting this topic several times throughout Spring Training and the regular season. I'll update the post as I get new info and I'll definitely be updating the dollar figure as it changes. If anyone decides to donate along with me, I encourage you to share that with me.

Thanks for your time and help. It is appreciated.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Phil Hughes Vs. Joba Chamberlain: Round 2

I didn't get to see any of today's Yankees/Tigers game. I forgot to check if it was on TV to set the DVR. I was hoping it would be rebroadcast tonight but it's not, unless it's on after the Nets game, didn't check. All I have to go on are what I've read online, which really isn't that much to go off of.

I like the write-up Sam Borden did over at the Lohud Yankees Blog. He makes the point that you really can't put much value in spring training statistics. I wholeheartedly agree with that. When it comes to spring training, I put very little value into how guys do. As Sam mentions, there are other things at work here. When it comes to pitching in ST, guys often spend time trying to develop and perfect certain pitches. They don't necessarily throw what they'd throw if it were a regular season game. There's no cause for alarm if a guy gets tattooed. In ST it's bound to happen to the best of pitchers. Just look at CC Sabathia's last ST outing. If you think that's a sign of things to come, then you're in for quite the surprise. CC is probably going to win 15-20+ games. You can bank on that.

When it comes to ST I typically look at 2 things when checking out the pitchers. How's their velocity (is it standard and does it improve with each start) and how's their control (do they hit their spots)? It's hard to tell that from a box score. The box score from today's game tells me that Joba got shelled again. The 3 walks jump out at me. I'd like to see the balls/strike ratio but the box score didn't have that. I'm assuming from the 3 walks that Joba wasn't hitting his spots. I would think he missed them by a great deal to walk 3 guys. On the flip side, Hughes didn't walk any today. Based on what I've read and what I've deduced, I'd say Hughes got the better of Joba again. If I've got it wrong, let me know.

On my unofficial scorecard, I've got Hughes up 2-0 after the 1st 2 starts. If you're a frequent reader of the blog, you know I'm Team Hughes all the way. I think he's got the tools and the make-up to be a major league starter. I think Joba is more suited for the bullpen. He just seems to have that mentality and from what I've seen so far in Joba's career, he excels in that late inning role. Now that doesn't necessarily mean I want to see Joba in the bullpen forever. I'd love to see him start, but not now. If it comes down to 1 open spot, I want Hughes to start and Joba to relieve. That's just me. What say you?

It's possible though that neither of these guys become the 5th starter. Alfredo Aceves is giving them a run for their money. I will admit I haven't seen him pitch yet, but when a guy pitches 6 perfect innings (no hits or walks) he must be doing something right. I like Ace and wouldn't mind seeing him as the team's 5th starter. If that ends up happening, I'm cool with that. He's impressed me in his 2 major league seasons. I still think in the long run Phil Hughes will be the best of the bunch (Hughes, Joba, Aceves, Gaudin, and Mitre), but I think Aceves is earning a spot.

But that's just me. What say you?

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Media Loves To Beat A Dead Horse

I received a text alert from ESPN today that read, "Yanks reiterate policy against extensions, to deal with D. Jeter, M. Rivera, J. Girardi after season." WTF?

Wasn't this established weeks ago. Didn't all parties involved acknowledge the policy and that there was no beef with it? Talk about beating a dead horse. There's an article on ESPN's website that goes along with it. It sounds like someone asked Hal Steinbrenner about it following a press conference the team had about the first ever "Pinstripe Bowl."

I don't understand what the media is trying to do here. This has been discussed and the matter should be closed. What's the point of continuing to ask about it and trying to make a story out of nothing? Are you guys really that hard up for a few web hits that you have to rehash the same story over and over again? How about being creative and writing about, I don't know, the Pinstripe Bowl. The team holds a press conference for the bowl and the only mention of it has to do with where Little Stein made the comments. Epic fail guys. No wonder guys like David Segui and Pat Hentgen get HOF votes.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Friday, March 5, 2010

Phil Hughes Vs. Joba Chamberlain: Round 1

It's about 20 minutes until midnight and I'm finally getting a chance to watch today's Yankees/Rays game. I'm not really interested in the game itself. I'm more interested to see how Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain do in their first outings of the spring. Hughes and Joba are the front-runners for the 5th spot in the Yankees rotation. They're not the only contenders (Mitre, Aceves and Gaudin) but the popular opinion is that it's going to come down to one of the two.

I'm on Team Hughes myself. Phil is the better pitcher in my opinion. I think he's got a better repertoire of pitches. I think he's stronger mentally. And he's a pitcher, where Joba, in my opinion is more of a thrower. Joba is better suited for the bullpen, again, in my opinion. I think the Yankees will be better suited with Phil starting and I think when the dust settles it's going to be Phil at the back end of the rotation.

As I've written before, I don't put my stock into spring stats, especially those from the first game. Pitchers definitely don't pitch as they'd pitch in the regular season. Spring training for pitchers is more about working on pitchers and fine tuning one's mechanics. When it comes to pitchers in ST, I usually look at a few things, mainly focusing in their velocity and their control. The first outing is usually a little rough. I want to see guys build on each start and get a little better each time out. If they can do that, I consider it a successful spring.

For some reason my DVR started recording the game with 1 out and a full count in the top of the first. The first pitch I saw from Hughes is a 90 mph fastball that barely cleared the CF wall for a HR. The ball was by no means crushed. I think the wind definitely helped it travel. On a regular day it's a long fly out. I think Curtis Granderson should have made a play on it and probably would have if not for the wind. Outside of the HR, I think Phil looked pretty good. His fastball was hitting between 88-90, which isn't bad for a first start. He topped out at 91 on his final pitch of the 1st inning. He'll build on that. It looked like Phil was working on his changeup. They commented on the YES broadcast that the Yankees told Phil he needed to work on the pitch. His change looked alright. He threw 3 straight at one point. He opened that AB with back-to-back fastballs, both hitting 90 on the gun. He followed those 2 pitches with 3 straight change-ups, each hitting 82mph. He threw a few in the 2nd inning that were around 80. The 8-10 mph differential between the fastball and change-up will work. If anything, that differential should get a little bigger as Phil's arm strengthens and his fastball picks up a few mph. Expect to see a lot of changes from Phil this spring. Overall not a bad first outing for Phil. His final line: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, and 1 BB. 33 pitches, 18 for strikes. A few too many balls, but it's nothing to be concerned about.

Joba had a rough day. In a word, it was sloppy. His control was horrible. He was all over the place and missed most of his spots. He finished with 33 pitches, 14 for strikes. Yikes. Like Hughes, his fastball was consistently hitting between 88-90, topping out at 92. The difference is that Joba's pitches got hammered. He allowed 5 earned runs on 3 hits (back-to-back triples and a double) and 3 walks. To be fair to Joba, he was a few days removed from having some kind of flu/bug. He definitely wasn't at 100%. I'm not overly concerned by his poor debut. I will be concerned if his 2nd outing is equally as bad, or worse.

I stopped watching the replay after they pulled Joba with 1 out in the 4th. I'm very tired and my laptop is about to die. I definitely have to give Hughes round 1 on my unofficial scorecard. He definitely had the better outing of the two. But again, it's only their first start of the spring. This one doesn't carry as much weight as the next one, or the one after that, and so on. There's still time for Joba to recover and have a great spring. I think he'll improve, but I don't think he'll fare as well as Phil. I'm really interested to see how it all shakes out. Will it be a 2 horse race or will one of the 3 longshots finish the race as the upset winner. As long as it's not Sergio Mitre, I'll be happy.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Surprise Surprise. Nick Johnson Is Hurt Already

Just got back to my desk from an afternoon of meetings (also had to wait for a "break") and I hear on the XM update that Nick Johnson was scratched from today's game against the Phillies with what's being called a "stiff lower back." Congrats to whoever had 2 plate appearances in the "When will Nick Johnson get hurt" pool.

According to the game report over at the Lohud Yankees blog, Johnson felt something in his back during BP after catching one of his spikes in the turf during one of his swings. The root cause of the "injury" is apparently because Johnson was wearing his spikes when he normally wears his turf shoes. The injury doesn't sound too serious but this isn't a good sign. The Yankees hadn't even started their second spring training game and the injury prone Nick Johnson gets scratched with an injury. I know it's only ST and they don't want to push things, but come on, really? He couldn't even make it 2 days without an incident. Unreal.

I miss Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Yankees Featured On "30 Clubs in 30 Days" Tonight

I'm sure you already know this but just a heads-up that the Yankees are the featured team on tonight's edition of 30 Clubs in 30 Days on the MLB Network. Show starts at 5pm. It's probably worth tuning in. You can never go wrong with an hour of TV devoted to the greatest franchise in all of sports.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Jeter To Seek 6 Year Deal?

My little 10 month old likes to watch The Wiggles as he drinks his bedtime bottle. After it ended and my wife took the little guy to bed, she left the TV on but turned the sound off. I was walking between rooms when I saw something that caught my eye. The TV was tuned to the MLB Network and the story was about Derek Jeter. I couldn't hear what they were saying and before I turned on the sound the story was over. Anyway, the blurb they had on the screen read something like, "Report: Jeter to seek 6-year deal when contract expires." My interest was piqued.

Now being the dope that I am, I totally forgot I could rewind live TV to hear the story. So where did I go? of course. That directed me to Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman. He had an article up within his "daily scoop" titled, "Could Jeter seek six years?" There wasn't really much to the "story." It was more speculative than anything else. The basis for the piece was that 2 executives from "competing teams" felt Jeter could ask for a 6-year deal. What a non-story? But since the topic was brought up, I'll play along.

Here's my thought: If Jeter wants a 6-year deal, the Yankees should give him a 6-year deal. I don't think Derek is the type of person who is going to want to continue to play baseball if he thinks his skills are diminishing. If he signs to play for 6 more years, it's because he knows he can play at a high-level for 6 more years. At least that's how I look at it. Now there's no guarantee that 7 years from now Jeter can still play at a high level, but I think Jeter has earned the right to give it a shot. Derek is a competitor. I don't see him playing if he can't compete. I'd like to think Derek knows best when it comes down to it.

It would also mean that Jeter would get to make a run at the all-time hit record. Jeter is entering this season with 2747 hits, trailing Pete Rose's record by 1445 hits. Jeter would need to average about 207 hits per year to reach Rose's record of 4192. It's a stretch, a big one at that, but it's doable. Personally, I think he'd need to play another year to pass Rose, but that's just me.

Of course though this will probably all come down to money. If DJ were to ask for a 6-year deal, I'd hope he wouldn't ask for as much as he'd probably get if he took a shorter contract. If Jeter takes a smaller salary, it could give the Yankees some payroll flexibility. I'm really curious to see what the final terms of his deal ends up being.

Lastly, another reason I want him to sign a longer deal is a selfish one. My oldest son is turning 3 this August. I'd love nothing more than for him to get to see Derek play and actually remember it. I hope he'll get that chance.

So am I nuts for wanting the team to sign Jeter to a 6-year deal, assuming of course that's what DJ asks for? It's not ideal to have a 42-year old SS, but this is Derek Jeter we're talking about. Feel free to share your thoughts.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Picking Up Where They Left Off, Yankees Win On A Walkoff

It's a little after 8:30pm and I'm finally getting the chance to watch today's spring training opener. I was able to hear two 1/2 innings of the game on the radio. Oddly enough, the 2 parts I heard were the two innings in which the Yankees scored their runs.

I'm not a huge Michael Kay fan but I'll admit that it was nice to hear him utter 2 certain phrases, "The YES Network presents New York Yankees baseball," and, "Lineups, first pitch, baseball, next on YES." And with that, the 2010 season is officially upon us. The march to #28 has begun.

Am I the only one who thinks Joe Girardi changing his uniform number to 28 is a little silly? Am I also the only one who has a little trouble taking him seriously when he gives an interview and you can see his braces? Look at me go. I haven't even seen the first pitch of the season yet and I've already cracked on Girardi. It should be a fun year. I do like Girardi for the most part. I do think he makes some stupid moves and when he does it's really aggravating because they're beyond dumb. But for the most part, I have his back. There's one thing I'm hoping to see from Girardi this year. I'm hoping he stops using his little book to aid him in making decisions. Go with your gut more Joe.

First pitch strike from Chad Gaudin. Nice start. The rest of the game, however, was pretty boring. I fast-forwarded through most of it. The pitchers pretty much dominated the hitters. The Pirates got a hit to leadoff the first and then were shut down for 6 full innings. Nice outings from Gaudin, Mitre, and Aceves. I don't put much stock in spring training stats, especially for pitchers, as they don't always pitch as they would in games. But it was definitely nice to see 6 innings of shutout ball from those 3. Jonathan Albaladejo on the other hand? Yikes. Not a good start for him. Have fun in Scranton.

Nice stroke by Nick Johnson on his RBI double in the 6th. I'm glad he didn't get hurt.

What? No pie? Either way, a walkoff is still a walkoff, with or without the pie. I'll take it.

And there we have it folks. The 1st game is in the books. Baseball is officially back. Next stop: Opening Day. A little less than 32 days to go. April 4th can't get here fast enough.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Fun And Games

The Yanks had their annual team outing today. The gang took the day off and spent the day in an arcade playing games. For those that don't remember, last year the team had a pool tournament. I've got to give it up to Joe Girardi for coming up with this idea last year. I think it's awesome that they take the day off and have a little bonding session before they get deep into the grind. I think this also goes a long way for enhancing the team's chemistry. Hey, it worked last year. Why not roll with it again?

The first spring training game kicks off tomorrow at 1pm. I'll be stuck at work but have the DVR set up to record it. I can't wait to see the boys trot out onto the field wearing the Pinstripes. It always gives me goosebumps. I probably won't get to watch the game until sometime after the kids go to bed. My wife's birthday is on Thursday and tomorrow night is the family party. I really can't wait to get home to watch it. To get myself in the mood, I just finished watching the 2009 World Series film on blu-ray. What better way to start the new season then by reliving how the last one ended, with the Yankees winning their 27th world championship.

If anyone is looking for something to do during the game tomorrow, the guys over at Bronx Baseball Daily (a must read) will be having a live game chat. I might hop in, assuming of course that the firewall at work lets me. Nothing beats talking Yankee baseball with fellow Yankee fans. Make sure to stop in and check it out.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Monday, March 1, 2010

A Little Catching Up

I'm so not a fan of blogging once a week. My schedule is pretty hectic right now though I anticipate it dying down soon. I typically blog during my lunch break at work but that hour has been overrun by meetings and having to spend it catching up on other stuff because of meetings. So not fun. Today's a free day, so here I am. Let her rip.

Chan Ho Park is now officially a Yankee. His arrival should strengthen what I think is already a pretty solid bullpen. The only downside to the move is that to make room for Park on the 40-man roster, the Yankees had to designate Edwar Ramirez for assignment. Depending on your view of Edwar, it may or may not be a bad thing. I've never been a big Edwar fan so for me, it's not a bad thing. Edwar had some promise but by and large he never materialized into much of anything. His 2008 campaign was decent. He pitched to a 3.90 ERA and opponents hit .215 off of him. His 2007 and 2009 season were dismal. In those seasons, he combined to throw 43 innings, allowing 49 hits and 32 walks (1.88 WHIP) and had an ERA just south of 7 at 6.91. Edwar is also turning 29 in a few weeks and I believe that makes him the oldest RP on the staff next to Damaso Marte (35), Sergio Mitre (6 weeks older than Ramirez), Park(36), and the legend Mariano Rivera (40). Marte is a lefty so Edwar loses there. Mitre can start so Edwar loses there. Comparing Edwar to Mariano is like comparing me to Mariano. So that pretty much leaves Park. So it comes down to who would you rather have: Edwar or Park? I'll take Park. He's been around. He's more reliable. He can start in a pinch. I don't think he's by any means a saving grace, but he doesn't have to be. I like the move. Who knows? Maybe Edwar will make it through the process and return to the organization.

We're 2 days away from the spring opener. I'm so excited. I have to remember to set the DVR. The only drawback of ST games, besides that the scrubs play most of the games, is that they're usually in the afternoon. Can't wait to start watching the highlight shows. I'm just hoping I can fit it in around my kids schedules. Can't miss Handy Manny. Chad Gaudin will start the opener but the real fun starts on Thursday when CC Sabathia squares off against Roy Halladay in a Worl Series rematch. This could very well end up being the same matchup we see for game 1 of the 2010 World Series. I'm looking forward to each tossing their handful of innings.

The last thing I wanted to discuss was the contract status of Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. Is it me or does it seem like the media is making a big deal out of the Yankees not negotiating with these guys prior to the end of their contracts? It's gotten way too much play if you ask me. It was even mentioned during the news portion of The Howard Stern Show. This is such a non-story. Both of these guys will be back in Pinstripes next year and neither are bothered by the fact that the Yankees are waiting to negotiate the deals with them. There is absolutely zero chance that these guys end up somewhere else. I wouldn't be surprised if their deals are signed within a week of the end of the season. The Yankees basically just need to give these guys whatever they want.

I had plans to write a little more but my lunch is about to end and I'm off to a meeting. Lunch breaks are never truly lunch breaks because people still come up to me and need something. I spent about 45 minutes writing this and I'd say that 25 of those minutes were spent doing work things. Part of the reason I'm waiting for these games to start is because I'll blog after the games and tweet during the games. The activity here will definitely be picking up. My apologies again for the delay in posting.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,