• Your Last Kick Yankees

    Posted by on July 31st, 2005 · Comments (0)

    So, the mighty trade deadline has come and gone, and, for the Yankees, all it meant was “See ya, Buddy Groom.” And, now, there are 59 games left for the Yankees, and they are 2 back in the loss column to Boston. What will the Yankees be going to war with for these remaining games?

    The line-up: It will still be the Fab Five at the top (Jeter, Cano, Sheff, A-Rod, and Godzilla) followed by Giambi and Posada, and then including some combination of two from the following: Tino, Bernie, Crosby, Sierra, and Womack. So, it’s basically six sticks and then pray for some good licks.

    The starting rotation: Unit and Moose lead the pack. I expect Pavano to come back and claim the 3rd slot. And, for a while, if not for the rest of the year, Chacon and Leiter will fill out the back end. (And, hopefully, Kevin Brown will stay on the DL for the remainder of the season.) With this group, based on their performance so far this year, sadly, there will not be one game where you can say “Should be a win for the Yanks today.” It’s pretty much wait and see what side of that pitcher shows up each start.

    The bullpen: Mo, Gordon and Sturtze are the horses here. Keeping them company will be Aaron Small, Alan Embree, and Felix Rodriguez. If Jaret Wright can come back, or Wang, I would guess that would be the end for Small, and then Chacon goes to the pen. There’s really little change here, outside of what it has been for a while, even though there are new names to be seen – it’s still just three guys that you can trust and expect them to be over-worked.

    The bench: Flash will remain the back-up to Posada and Unit’s personal backstop. With 11 pitchers, and having a FT DH, there’s only room for five here. Flaherty gets one, as stated. Assuming that Bernie plays CF and Tino is at 1B (with Giambi at DH) you need three of the remaining spots here for Sierra, Crosby, and Womack. (And, in case you missed it, Womack is now the primary back-up for the infield.) For the last spot on the team, assuming that Torre does not want to carry a 12th pitcher along the likes of a Proctor or Franklin, for now, it would be Andy Phillips. What does such a bench tell you? It says that, if the Yankees lose a starting player for a long period of time, they’re in big trouble.

    Summary: Mystique and Aura, don’t fail us now.

    July 31st vs. The Angels

    Posted by on July 31st, 2005 · Comments (2)

    I know that some of the Yankees players came through with an incredible effort today. And, I know that the ghosts of Yankee Stadium were busy this afternoon spinning magic, where needed.

    But, I’m taking the credit for the win today.

    Around 12:30 pm, we decided to take the kids to Friendly’s for lunch and ice cream. While we were there, I got one of those over-sized glasses of soda. After lunch, we elected to go down to the marina to do a little strolling and boat watching. As we were getting ready to leave the boats, the soda starting sending signals to my bladder. But, I thought “Ah, we’ll be home in a few minutes, I can wait.” And, we came home.

    When we arrived home, I flicked on the TV and the game was in the bottom of the 8th – just as the “big” rally was starting. So, I sat and watched – and put the need for personal relief on the back burner for a minute. Once the Yankees tied the score in the 8th, I thought “OK, now I can’t move a muscle, or else I risk the whammy” and I sat there, frozen in my position.

    And, I continued to sit there, through the 8th, and the 9th, and the 10th, and until the end in the 11th – ignoring my bladder telling me to do otherwise. Let me tell you, standalone, those innings were a heart attack alley. Add a full bladder on that, and, well, it’s taking one for the team. But, as a fan, what else could I be expected to do?

    And, yes, the minute Matsui scored in the 11th, it was a great relief and one gauntlet defeated.

    Groom Jilted

    Posted by on July 31st, 2005 · Comments (6)

    From the News:

    Yesterday, after learning he’d been designated for assignment to make room for Embree, Groom had strong words for the Yankees, especially manager Joe Torre. “I didn’t get a fair shake here,” the 40-year-old said. “I came here to pitch in key situations and I became a mop-up guy, not getting in any games; you tell me what that looks like to you. You know, you come here, you don’t get a chance unless you’re one of the boys.

    “Don’t come here thinking you might get a lot of opportunities, because unless you’re one of Joe’s boys, you’re not going to get much of a shot.”

    I cannot say that I disagree here.

    Groom should have been used as a LOOGY, period. That’s what he’s always done. That’s what he is, again, period. Yet, Joe The Great Pen Miss-User did try and use him for more than one key LH batter at a time. And, he did this a lot. Of course, Groom was going to fail in that role.

    I would not be shocked to see him land somewhere soon, and pitch against the Yankees, and whiff Giambi in a key spot, and cost the Yankees a game sometime this season.

    Cash Sleeping In For This One?

    Posted by on July 31st, 2005 · Comments (4)

    I’ve heard in more than a few places that the Yankees would like to add an extra OF to this team – I guess to avoid having to play Womack or Crosby, and to keep Sierra from having to wear a glove.

    And, then, Jose Cruz Jr. becomes available, and would come cheap.

    So, what happens? The Red Sox grab Cruz, for two nobodies and they even get cash in the deal, which is just as good as money.

    This is disappointing.

    July 30th vs. The Angels

    Posted by on July 30th, 2005 · Comments (16)

    There is no sweeter sound to a Yankees fan’s ears than hearing Sinatra’s New York, New York being blasted over the PA at Yankee Stadium after a 9th inning comeback win (like today) against a team that they seemingly can never beat (like the Angels) and against a punk relief pitcher (like K-Rod).

    As far as picking up Alan Embree, I don’t get it? Boston is hurting for RP like the Yankees are for SP. If he had any value, pitching-wise, the Sox would have never let him go. The only guess I have is that Torre and Cashman want to see if Embree can teach them the Red Sox secret handshake, or something like that.

    The Doctor Is In

    Posted by on July 30th, 2005 · Comments (0)

    Dr. Denise Fortino has recently offered some comments on the 2004 ALCS that are worth checking out.

    She should fear not, I already have a great T-shirt idea for this year when Boston does not repeat. You’ll see it in October. I’ve had it in mind now since the Sox started the trophy tour. Just waiting for the right time for it to hit the market.

    The Gauntlet Update

    Posted by on July 29th, 2005 · Comments (0)

    Just for the record, if the Yankees win both of their games this weekend, they would have passed The Gauntlet.

    But, what are the odds of them winning these next two games? If they lose both, it’s then a 11-10 mark for The Gauntlet. Considering that they got off to a 9-3 start on this challenge, that’s not good news.

    July 29th vs. The Angels

    Posted by on July 29th, 2005 · Comments (0)

    What can I say? The Angels are my Daddy.

    Seriously, considering the current state of Yankees starting pitching, it’s a sin for this team to piss away a start like the one they got tonight from Mussina.

    Lastly, just for the record, if the Red Sox trade Manny and two of their better prospects in exchange for Aubrey Huff and Mike Cameron, I will have a bounce in my step for days – maybe months.

    Jeter Gossip

    Posted by on July 29th, 2005 · Comments (5)

    By now, you may have heard about Jeter and the Banker in the box seats.

    In the eighth inning, Jeter continued the argument. “I couldn’t hear his exact words, but the fan was conciliatory and Jeter would have none of it,” Ellenthal said.

    A cop walked over to Jeter, and they conferred. Jeter pointed at the banker and made an “out” sign with his thumb.

    This is the strange part of the story for me. If you would have told me that Jeter had the guy thumbed in the 6th or 7th inning, maybe I could buy the whole thing. But, the 8th? I have no idea of what Derek’s IQ is, but, I would have to think that he’s smart enough to know that having a guy tossed in the 8th, when you’re losing by 4, is silly. There’s no point. Therefore, that’s why I doubt that he did ask for him to be removed.

    The Baseball Same Game

    Posted by on July 29th, 2005 · Comments (1)

    This just in:

    Books sales of The Baseball Same Game in June 2005 were nearly 300% of what they were in May 2005. (It was released on 4/28/05.)

    My sincere thanks to all who have purchased the book!
    And, if you haven’t picked it up yet, what are you waiting for?

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    Counting Pitchers

    Posted by on July 29th, 2005 · Comments (3)

    To date, the Yankees have used 24 pitchers this season, and 12 different men have started games for them. When Shawn Chacón joins the team, it will become 25 and 13. I was curious as to what the recent past looked like, in terms of pitchers used/different men to start (for New York). Here’s the results – with 2005 being to date, and assuming that Chacón takes his turn tomorrow:

    pitchcount.jpg

    As you can see, during the recent Yankees post-season streak, this season will be the high mark for number of different men to start a game. And, the Yankees have never used as many “pitchers” in a season during this run as they have used this year to date. (I say “pitchers” because these counts include times when position players took toe to the rubber. If you exclude those times – like Mike Aldrete in ’96 and Wade Boggs in ’97 – then some of the numbers in the past go down.)

    Clearly, the Yankees steadiest rotations here were the teams of 1997-98-99 and 2001-02-03. And, statistically speaking, this makes sense as the best Yankees pitching staffs in ‘the run’ have been from the teams of 1997, 1998, 2001 and 2002. And, before this season, the worst Yankees pitching staff in ‘the run’ was the team from last year.

    What does this all say? I think it means that, if the Yankees are to make it to the post-season this year, it will be up to a turnaround in their pitching, or the bats just bashing away like mad to make up for the hurting hurlers.

    Shawn Chacón Trade

    Posted by on July 28th, 2005 · Comments (4)

    Shawn Chacón is not the answer to what the Yankees need.

    As far as what the Yankees gave up, Ramon Ramirez and Edwardo Sierra, who knows? Ramirez is a small RHP, who used to be an OF, and was signed by NY out of Japan. He’s got some stuff – but needs seasoning. Sierra came to NY from Oakland in the Chris
    Hammond trade. As far as I know, he’s a non-prospect.

    If they Yankees did not need a starter for Saturday, I wonder if they still make this trade?

    And They Say Tampa And NY Don’t Talk….

    Posted by on July 28th, 2005 · Comments (3)

    OK, on one day, the story out of Boston management is:

    Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona denied a report that outfielder Manny Ramirez has requested a trade, while general manager Theo Epstein said he wouldn’t respond to rumors, the Boston Globe reported Wednesday.

    And, the next day, the story is:

    Manny Ramirez recently asked the Boston Red Sox to trade him but that’s hard to do, considering the $57 million due him over the remaining three years of his contract, team president Larry Lucchino said Thursday.

    ……

    He also said this is the fourth straight season in which Ramirez has requested a trade “and our general reponse was, `it’s that time of year’ and we’ll explore it as we explore other trades.”

    Looks like the Yankees offices in Tampa and the Bronx are not the only ones not on the same page.

    Hardware Men

    Posted by on July 28th, 2005 · Comments (7)

    If the season ended right now, and A-Rod won the AL MVP, and Cano was named AL Rookie of the Year (ROY), and Mo won the AL Cy Young Award, the majority of baseball fans out there would not make too much of a fuss over it. (By the way, if Tadahito Iguchi gets the ROY this season, then Matsui should take someone to court on the 2003 ROY selection.)

    Has there ever been a team that had the MVP, ROY, and Cy Young winner come from them, all of them, in the same season? If so, has that team ever not finished in 1st? I have to look into this one.

    If anyone knows the answer, please let me know.

    July 28th vs. The Twins

    Posted by on July 28th, 2005 · Comments (5)

    12:27 pm EST: Why can’t I shake the feeling that the Yankees are going to lose this game by a score of 6-5 or 5-4?

    Sterling & Suzyn

    Posted by on July 28th, 2005 · Comments (12)

    According to a USA Today feature, the Yankees radio team is tied for being the 9th best in all of baseball.

    At this moment, I feel really sad for the fans of 20 big league teams. Imagine having to listen to worse than Sterling & Suzyn.

    Jerry Narron Remembers

    Posted by on July 28th, 2005 · Comments (6)

    Just saw a nice Jerry Narron story in The Cincy Post.

    Has it really been 26 years?

    Right now, it seems like it was just yesterday. I had just finished my afternoon paper route. I was in my bedroom – resting on my bed. I was listening to Paco on WKTU on the stereo. They interrupted with the news flash. I jumped off my bed and ran downstairs to the living room. My dad was watching Channel 7 – and they broke in with the story too.

    The next few days are a blur for me. I was a zombie – I suppose. The next thing I actually remember was days later – it was late, around 11 pm, and everyone in the house was asleep, except me. I was sitting in the kitchen, by myself, and I just started crying like a baby. My mother heard me and came downstairs. She asked me why I was crying. I told her that I never felt worse in my whole life – which was less than 17 years long at that time.

    Mom told me that I needed to get a grip and start moving on. And, as much as I probably have moved on, every time I see a story like the one on Narron, I’m brought right back to that afternoon when I was resting in my bedroom on August 2, 1979 – when the unthinkable happened.

    There’s No Way, Unless…..

    Posted by on July 28th, 2005 · Comments (12)

    I know that the Yankees are just 2 games out of 1st place, and there are 63 games left to play.

    But, when I look at those 63 games, esp. the schedule in the last month of the season, and then I look at the Yankees current pitching rotation, I just see no way how this team will play well enough to be in the post-season this year.

    What the Yankees will need to reach the playoffs is a 3rd starter, to slot behind Johnson and Mussina, who will win around 7 games for them over the next two months.

    It could be Pavano coming back, or someone from the farm, or a player picked up in a trade – it doesn’t matter. But, this pitcher must be someone who can take the ball and give the team a chance to win that day, most of the time, like Johnson and Mussina. Without this 3rd successful starter, the Yankees are just going to play .500 ball, at best, or, as Cashman says “tread water.” And, that’s not going to get this team in the post-season.

    It’s a shame because this is a year where the AL East can be had – it’s there for the taking now. No one has run away with it. Boston, Baltimore, and Toronto each have their own issues. You don’t always get a chance to win and I would hate to see this year slip through the Yankees hands. But, as much as it hurts me to say it, without that secure third set of hands to man the mound after Unit and Moose, the 2005 season could be the year that the Yankees playoff streak comes to an end.

    Jose Cruz Jr.

    Posted by on July 27th, 2005 · Comments (6)

    In 1996, Jose Cruz Jr., as a member of the Lancaster Jethawks, signed a baseball for me. I always thought that was nice of him – and he’s always been on my radar since.

    Today, I just saw that he was DFA’ed.

    You know, if you use the finer sabermetric measures, you will see that he was about a league average batter in 2002, 2003 and 2004. And, this year, allowing for the filters that sabermetrics provide, he has been slightly below average with the stick so far. Not good – but, not flat out terrible.

    Now, you have to wonder why he’s been on four different teams in the last four years. But, if you can get past that, and if you feel that he’s a decent glove/arm in CF, and you’re the Yankees, would you not take a chance on this player? He’s only 31-years-old.

    Unless someone knows that something has now robbed him of his skills, or knows for a fact that he’s a clubhouse cancer, why not pick him up – esp. considering that he’ll come cheap?

    July 27th vs. The Twins

    Posted by on July 27th, 2005 · Comments (9)

    What a shame.

    Al Leiter does his best Karl Wallenda and somehow keeps it to a 1-0 game through five. F-Rod, go figure, gets it to seven, and then the bullpen starts throwing grapefruits and it’s a 6-0 game heading into the bottom of the 8th.

    That’s the shame – within a few frames late in the game, this one went from possible squeaker to way-uphill in a hurry.

    Bernie’s “foul homer” in the 8th was just about the summary of his season this year in one AB, huh? The minute that went foul, and it was 0-2, I said to my wife “Watch, now he’ll whiff” – and he did.

    You know, since the All-Star break, excluding that one 11-10 wild game in Texas on July 18th, the Yankees are averaging 4.58 runs scored per game. With their pitching situation, 4.58 runs a game is just not going to cut it.

    Besides the fact that Boston won tonight, this game hurts because there’s an excellent chance that the Yankees are going to lose 2 of their next 3 games – because of who will be starting them.

    What a great entry into the dog days of August.

    Bad Back, Right…….

    Posted by on July 27th, 2005 · Comments (1)

    If the near no-no last night wasn’t enough to convince you that Unit’s back is fine, read this:

    It was just after 4 p.m. when the Mini Cooper puttered into the Yankee parking lot, rolling by the Land Cruisers and the Porsches. The security guards directed the toy car to its assigned spot, nodding at the driver who had somehow squeezed into the front seat.

    After a few moments, the front door opened. A leg emerged. Then another leg – a long one. It took a few seconds, but Randy Johnson finally unfolded himself. The 6-foot-10 left-hander towered over the Mini (its roof only came up to the Big Unit’s hip), creating a sight as bizarre as the Yankees’ pitching situation.

    ESPN Page2: Yanks 2 Of 10 Most Overpaid

    Posted by on July 27th, 2005 · Comments (2)

    This list is just out.

    No shocker on Brown.

    And, Bernie making the list is telling. Related, I found it interesting that Kaat said in the post-game last night that a CF was the Yankees biggest need on the trade front – even given the pitching woes.

    Jorge De Paula’s Last Start

    Posted by on July 27th, 2005 · Comments (1)

    From the game:

    RHP Jorge De Paula (6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 SO) started and took a no-decision for the Clippers.

    Free-ee-ee Jor-ge De-Paul-a! Free, free, free, Jor-ge De-Paul-a!

    And, just say no to Nomo!

    Today’s Riddle

    Posted by on July 27th, 2005 · Comments (3)

    How can you tell the difference between a 1974 Steve Renko and a 2005 Carl Pavano?

    It’s hard. Both are RHP. Both are 6′ 5″. Both made their big league debut with the Montreal Expos.

    After several years of pitching at a level that many would consider below league average, both had a big year at age 28.

    And, better yet, currently they’re both members of the Yankees family.

    I’m really starting to get a bad feeling about the rest of Mr. Pavano’s Yankees career.

    Happy Birthday A-Rod!

    Posted by on July 27th, 2005 · Comments (0)

    Nice party:

    Yankee Alex Rodriguez looked like he’d just dodged a brushback pitch when he walked into a surprise 30th-birthday party at 4-0/40 Monday night.

    Owner Jay-Z invited A-Rod to join him in some Patrón shots before they settled into a banquette with their respective ladies, Beyoncé and Cynthia.

    No one appeared to be too worried about yesterday’s game against the Twins: Fellow Bronx Bombers Jorge Posada and Jason Giambi were also there for the casino-themed fete. Also on hand were Allen Iverson, Ty Gracie, DJ Clue and Young Jeezy. Nobody paid much attention to the Mets-Rockies game on the big flat-screens.

    I wonder if they all got home before the team curfew?

    Oh, Derek……..

    Posted by on July 27th, 2005 · Comments (2)

    First the snub in the All-Star Game vote, and, now, this?

    TooTimid.com Visitors Name Their Celebrity Sex Fantasy – The FINAL POLL RESULTS

    19% (of votes cast) Johnny Depp (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)
    16% Brad Pitt (Mr. & Mrs. Smith)
    11% Colin Farrell (Alexander)
    10% Orlando Bloom (Lord of the Rings)
    8% Denzel Washington (Man on Fire)
    6% Tom Cruise (War of the Worlds)
    6 % Jesse Metcalfe (Desperate Housewives)
    6 % Keanu Reeves (Something’s Gotta Give)
    5 % Patrick Dempsey (Grey’s Anatomy)
    4 % Derek Jeter (NY Yankees)
    4 % Usher (Musician)
    2 % Jude Law (Alfie)
    1% Adrian Grenier (Entourage)

    I guess Jete’s placement here is not all that bad, considering he looks the result of when “the Rock had sex with a muppet.”

    And, in case anyone asks, no, I do not frequent that site. I heard this report on the radio driving into work today – I swear!

    July 26th vs. The Twins

    Posted by on July 26th, 2005 · Comments (8)

    Are we there, yet?”

    Yes, I believe the Unit has landed. A no-no would have been a beautiful thing tonight – but, the win is the most important takeaway this evening – along with some evidence that whatever old-age thing may be bothering Johnson, that it can’t be that bad.

    You know when the clock strikes 9 pm EST, and they’re playing God Bless America at the Stadium, you’ve got a pitcher’s duel cooking. It was great to watch.

    Also, from this game, let the record stand: If Robinson Cano hits in his next 43 games in a row, I want a recount on that ball that was supposedly an inch off the right field foul line tonight.

    A thought: If the Yankees do sign Ruben Rivera, will they have to place a security guard over Unit’s gum-holder-glove every time he pitches? Remember the fuss a few seasons back on Luis Gonzalez ABC gum? That would be nothing compared to actual Big Unit Game Chew on the market.

    Lastly, Brian Cashman, if you’re reading this, and were thinking of picking up Danys Baez – please, do not. Anyone who can’t hold a 2-run lead over Boston in the 9th – or preserve a tie in the 10th – is not someone who would be a good fit for the Yankees pen.

    It would have been nice to see Tampa hold that 8-6 lead tonight. Oh, well, tomorrow is another day.

    Hideo Nomo

    Posted by on July 26th, 2005 · Comments (9)

    With the news breaking today that Kevin Brown will miss his next start, and that Carl Pavano will go through a ‘full rehab,’ there are strong whispers out of the Yankees camp that Hideo Nomo will be picked up and given a start for New York (in the next two to four days).

    It’s getting to be that ugly, huh?

    Newsday: Don’t Praise Jason

    Posted by on July 26th, 2005 · Comments (6)

    From Ken Davidoff of Newsday:

    But it can’t be stressed enough that Giambi got himself into this mess. It’s one thing to celebrate someone who, say, hurts himself in the field of battle. Giambi, to the contrary, cheated and lied his way to his huge contract, and in the process, he never took care of his body. His nightlife, the Yankees are convinced, contributed to his physical breakdown of last season.

    To this day, I still wonder what happened at that Ricky Williams party in 2003 during the World Series?

    Dennys Reyes

    Posted by on July 26th, 2005 · Comments (6)

    From the Times:

    The Yankees could soon add a veteran left-handed reliever, Dennys Reyes, who was released by San Diego last Monday. Reyes’ agent, Oscar Suarez, said yesterday that Reyes was considering two teams, including the Yankees. Reyes, who has played for eight teams, would probably be assigned to Triple-A Columbus.

    Pass. The Yankees don’t need no stinkin’ ‘nother Juan Acevedo.

    I checked the stats. He can’t even LOOGY. He has zero value.

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