• August 25th vs. The Blue Jays

    Posted by on August 25th, 2005 · Comments (5)

    10:49 am EST: Today’s prediction is that Sheffield is going to have a big day at the plate, and that the only Blue Jay to give Chacón much trouble will be Hillenbrand. And, the Yankees win.

    Then again, I’m Oh’fer two in my last two day-game predictions. So, what do I know?

    August 24th vs. The Blue Jays

    Posted by on August 24th, 2005 · Comments (5)

    Bummer. The Yankees were so close to going 15 games over .500 for the first time this year. Now, they will have to win two in a row to get there. I’m wondering if it will ever happen.

    This is the second time in his last five starts where Mussina was humming along and then imploded at just about the half-way mark of the game.

    Well, Moose did get to keep the ball from tonight when he notched the out that marked his 3,000th career inning. I guess that’s the important thing for him – keeping track of his personal milestones.

    Many say there’s a reason why Mussina has never won 20 games in a season. And, they say that he’s never been a true ace. And, they say that he’s not Cooperstown material. And, games like this one just add another log to their fire.

    Hopefully tomorrow’s game will be better. I’m calling it The Battle of the Vowels – Chacon v Chacin. Let us all hope that “O” is the winner.

    I actually stopped watching the game tonight as soon as it was 9-zip. The other day, I had picked up The Punisher on DVD at Target for ten bucks. So, I thought this was a good time to watch that instead of the game. The star is Thomas Jane – who played Mantle in 61*. It was pretty cornball – but it had enough suspense at times, and humor at others, mixed in with the requisite amount of guns/cars/explosions that you would expect from this type of flick to keep your attention.

    There was even a Yankees reference in one line when The Punisher says:

    Upset? I used to get upset when I got a flat tire. I used to get upset when a plane was delayed. And, I used to get upset when the Yankees won the series. So, if that’s upset, how do I feel now? If you know the word, tell me, because I don’t.”

    Maybe the word is “That-feeling-when-Mussina-spits-the-bit“?

    Enter Sandmen?

    Posted by on August 24th, 2005 · Comments (3)

    From Philly Inquirer Columnist:

    Everyone needs to be entertained, even Phillies coming into the game at Citizens Bank Park. At least a dozen players request certain tunes to put them in a hitting or pitching mood. It’s up to Phanavision director Bill Hooker to play “Enter Sandman” by Metallica when pitcher Billy Wagner warms up, for instance, or queue up a Fabolous hit when shortstop Jimmy Rollins goes to bat. You might not recognize pitcher Brett Myers’ pick, Subject to Change, a band from his hometown, Jacksonville, Fla. Some players don’t have just one choice; Hooker can play “Major Tom” by Peter Schilling or “The Zoo” by Scorpions for pitcher Jon Lieber.

    The guys are listening in the dugout, all right. Teammates gave second baseman Chase Utley major-league grief over “We Like to Party” by the Vengaboys. You know it – it’s the peppy song that the creepy old man dances to in those dopey Six Flags commercials. (Apologies for planting that tune in your head.)

    If the Yankees decide to go after Wagner this winter, and sign him as a Free Agent to fill Gordon’s role, he’s going to have to get another song.

    I would suggest Ride of the Valkyries.

    Sheff’s On-Line Pen Pal

    Posted by on August 24th, 2005 · Comments (2)

    From wesh.com, about the “celebrity status” of being in the LLWS:

    Moroff isn’t the only player receiving fan mail from the big guys. Dante Bichette Jr., who was featured in USA Today on Tuesday, has received an e-mail from Gary Sheffield of the New York Yankees.

    Bichette Sr. and Sheffield were together for one year only on the 1991 Brewers. It’s nice that they’ve kept in touch all these years. (I’m assuming that’s how Gary got the kid’s e-mail addy.)

    So, you play with a guy for one season, and, 14 years later you’re still fairly tight with him. Yeah, that Sheffield, he’s a clubhouse cancer.

    Piazza To The Bronx?

    Posted by on August 24th, 2005 · Comments (5)

    Bob Klapisch thinks it’s possible:

    But that’s not to say the 36-year-old Piazza is ready to stop playing after 2005 or that he’s even finished as a Met.

    Logic says the Mets will allow Piazza to move on, but that could change if ownership sensed the Yankees were encroaching. It’s not impossible: The Bombers will be looking for a right-handed power hitter and as creaky as Piazza has looked at times, one National League scout recently said: “Piazza still has the ability to catch up to a fastball. That much, I’d say he’s still got.”

    Piazza in the Bronx? He just smiled at the revolutionary thought, which isn’t to say he is or isn’t interested. All Piazza tells you is that he’s “curious” to see how the winter plays out.

    “I know it’s a sensitive subject, but I’m not even close to making up my mind,” he said. “I mean, so much can happen, and I have no idea if the Mets are interested or if other teams are. In a way it’s exciting because I’ve never been a free agent.”

    Every year, for five years in a row, Piazza’s offensive productivity has gone down. He’ll be 37-years-old next year. If it’s true that “The Bombers will be looking for a right-handed power hitter” please let it be someone other than Mike Piazza.

    The Price Of The First Half

    Posted by on August 24th, 2005 · Comments (1)

    Since July 2nd, the Yankees are playing .652 baseball. From that same point, the Red Sox are playing .600.

    It’s really too bad that the Yankees can’t mulligan the first three months of this season – or add another two or three months to the end of the schedule.

    CG Torre

    Posted by on August 24th, 2005 · Comments (0)

    From Box Office Prophets:

    Yankee Irving, a CG-animated feature that Chistopher Reeve was directing from his home at the time of his death in October 2004, has added some additional voice talent to its cast. Jake Syzmanski will voice the title character, while other cast members will include Rob Reiner, Whoopi Goldberg, Brian Dennehy, William H. Macy, Mandy Patinkin, Dana Reeve, Robert Wagner, Richard Kind, Raven Symone and New York Yankees manager Joe Torre. The story will center on a boy who is traveling across the country to return Babe Ruth’s bat before the deciding game of the 1932 World Series.

    I wonder how CG green tea tastes?

    Secret Mound Tools?

    Posted by on August 24th, 2005 · Comments (7)

    From the CT Post:

    Tom Gordon is responding to antibiotics, manager Joe Torre indicated, but was unavailable to pitch Tuesday night as he continues to battle a urinary tract infection.

    I had no idea how important the urethra was in terms of being able to pitch effectively. Baseball is great. You really do learn something every day.

    Dr. K To Help Unit?

    Posted by on August 24th, 2005 · Comments (2)

    Thanks to “Shaun P” for the heads-up on this from The Post:

    For almost 30 minutes yesterday, Randy Johnson spoke with pitching expert Joe Kerrigan at his locker.

    Kerrigan, the former Boston pitching coach and manager recently hired by the Yankees, was Johnson’s Double A and Triple A pitching coach in the Montreal organization in the late 1980s.

    GM Brian Cashman said yesterday that Kerrigan was hired to “tighten up” the team’s advance scouting, but Kerrigan doesn’t have a title.

    Speculation has already begun that Kerrigan will replace Mel Stottlemyre as pitching coach next season, since Stottlemyre has once again said he’ll retire after this year.

    Well, it Unit goes on a roll now, perhaps we will have this meeting to point back to?

    Against All Odds?

    Posted by on August 24th, 2005 · Comments (0)

    According to the folks at Baseball Prospectus, the odds are against the Yankees this year:

    0000odds.jpg

    Above is the % chance of winning the east, getting the card, or just making the post-season.

    Less than a 50-50 probability of them making the post-season? Good thing they play the games on the field and not on paper.

    August 23rd vs. The Blue Jays

    Posted by on August 23rd, 2005 · Comments (8)

    If you missed this game, click here to experience what it was like watching it.

    A great effort from Leiter. Yankees down by two in the 6th – get one there to cut the lead and another in the 7th to tie. They fall behind again in the 8th by one and come back in the bottom of that frame with one more to tie again (on a big Bernie hit). They allow another in the 9th to fall one back again – and then score two in the bottom of the 9th to win – the first run on a Godzilla HR to tie and then with the GWRBI coming with 2 outs and 2 strikes on the batter (who just happened to be Felix Escalona!).

    I did not see the post-game on YES – so, I have no idea if this was confirmed, but, on the replay of the Matsui HR in the 9th to tie the game, when they showed the Yankees dugout, I’m pretty sure that Jeter said to A-Rod “I told you.”

    How cool is that?

    Not A No-No To Me

    Posted by on August 23rd, 2005 · Comments (6)

    The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal is running an interesting piece on the lack of no-hitters in baseball these days. In the feature, Billy Wagner talks about the June 2003 “no-hitter” against the Yankees:

    “It was probably the most exciting moment of my career,” said Wagner, now the Phillies closer. “It was my only appearance against the Yankees, and it finished off a no-hitter. We knew we had done something special.”

    I must confess that, for a long time, I took pride (as a Yankees fan) that no one ever threw a no-hitter against the Yankees in my lifetime (which is a long time, as I was born in late 1962).

    And, I still take pride in that – because I just cannot consider a six-man “effort” as the same as one pitcher shutting down a team for 9 innings.

    Yes, they were held hitless that day. But, no “pitcher” (note, singular) has thrown a no-hitter against them since Hoyt Wilhelm did it in 1958.

    Sorry Yankee-haters, it’s still 47 years and counting in my book.

    Wanted

    Posted by on August 23rd, 2005 · Comments (4)

    Author of no-hitter for the Yankees wanted by police.

    And, no, it’s not David Wells.

    Go figure.

    The Baseball Same Game

    Posted by on August 23rd, 2005 · Comments (3)

    I just recieved this note, via e-mail, today regarding The Baseball Same Game -

    I purchased a copy of your book for myself and for a gift for my father (who is 80 years old).
    As a poor kid growing up in Brooklyn, he couldn’t afford to go to baseball games but was able to follow baseball through the radio and the newspaper.
    He was a math whiz and had an incredible memory of baseball statistics.
    Going to games with him when I was young was an experience.
    So many facts and records were mentioned during a nine-inning game that my head would spin.
    My mother has dealt with this obsession for over 50 years.
    Things were pretty quiet for them in Florida following the Marlins and the New York teams until I mailed him your book.
    It seems that his baseball juices starting flowing again and he hasn’t put the book down since he started reading it.
    I called him the other day to see if he liked the book and he mentioned a few of the chapters that he really liked – Pierce vs. Drysdale, Hornsby vs. Mantle.
    He told me the height of each pitcher and their records and the memories of baseball he had growing up in New York with the Dodgers, Giants and the Yankees.
    He loves your book and based on your references to other statistical works, he’s off to the library to see what else he can read.
    There’s good and bad new to end my e-mail.
    My father has shared his love of your book with other senior citizens in his Florida community and they all sit around and discuss the comparisons.
    That’s the good news. The bad news is that they are all reading the copy of the book I sent my father.
    At least there are people reading and enjoying your book.
    A baseball fan.
    Jeff

    Stuff like this just makes my day!

    The Countdown Begins

    Posted by on August 23rd, 2005 · Comments (7)

    From NoSenseWorrying.com:

    262

    That’s the number that was in the lower left hand corner on the marquis outside of the Stadium. The one that lists the opponent of the night and the game time. Driving in over the Macombs Dam Bridge I noticed the number but had no clue what it meant. Then, during the game I heard someone talking about it. Turns out, 262 is the number of home games that are left at the current Yankee Stadium.

    Gosh, that “last game ever” is going to be insane.

    CF In 2006 – Part II

    Posted by on August 23rd, 2005 · Comments (2)

    An interesting feature in the Star Ledger on the state of the Yankees farm has this:

    KEVIN THOMPSON: After battling injuries the past few seasons, Thompson was healthy this year and emerged as one of the top players in the Double-A Eastern League as the left fielder and leadoff hitter for Trenton. He earned a promotion to Columbus July 2 after hitting .329 with 28 doubles, 12 home runs, 43 RBI, 25 stolen bases and a .432 on-base percentage. He’s still adjusting to Triple A and turns 26 in September, but the Yankees are hoping he can continue to improve in center field and possibly step up next season. Wanting both he and Cabrera to get playing time in center, the organization stuck with him at their top minor-league affiliate. “He pushed himself from a guy who we liked a little bit to a guy who was at the top of most offensive categories in Double A,” Newman said.

    the Yankees are hoping he can continue to improve in center field and possibly step up next season“?

    Is it possible that the Yankees have looked at what’s going to be on the market this winter and decided to try and fill CF next year from within?

    The Big Unit And The Ryan Express

    Posted by on August 23rd, 2005 · Comments (3)

    In my mind, Randy Johnson and Nolan Ryan are linked. Why? Partly because of this story:

    Although his final numbers did not suggest it, Randy finally started pitching the way everyone knew he could. Mired in a losing streak, he sought the advice of some legendary flamethrowers, including Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan. The 45-year-old Ryan, in his next-to-last season with the Rangers, mentioned to Randy that he was landing on his heel when he strode toward home plate and that he might try landing on his foot. Texas pitching coach Tom House concurred. This, they said, might be the key to the consistency that had eluded him.

    After tinkering for a couple of weeks, everything began falling into place. At one point, Randy hit 102 mph on the radar. With his fastball hitting spots and his curve and slider bending over the corners, Randy finished the year strong. Over his final 11 starts he was 5-2 with a 2.65 ERA, giving up a mere 47 hits while averaging 10-plus strikeouts a game. His last start was an eight-inning performance against the Texas Rangers in which he fanned 18.

    And, partly because Ryan is the greatest right-handed strike out pitcher of all-time and Johnson is the greatest left-handed strike out pitcher of all-time.

    Now, what is becoming interesting is the way that both Ryan and Johnson pitched in the seasons where they were ages 40 and 41 – and then how Ryan did at ages 42 and 43.

    In 1987, at the age of 40, Nolan Ryan had a great pitching season for a team that finished 14 games out of first place.

    In 2004, at the age of 40, Randy Johnson had a great pitching season for a team that finished 42 games out of first place.

    In 1988, at the age of 41, Nolan Ryan had one of his worst seasons ever – in terms of his pitching effectiveness. By many standards, he was a below average pitcher that year.

    And, we know how Randy Johnson has been this season, where he is 41-years-old, in terms of his pitching effectiveness.

    So, how did Nolan Ryan do after that 1988 season? Well, in 1989, at the age of 42, Ryan was one of the ten best starters in the American League. And, in 1990, at the age of 43, while Ryan was not as good as he was in 1989, he was still one of the more effective starting pitchers in the league.

    Therefore, history shows us that it is possible for a 41-year-old “future Hall of Famer” power pitcher who is having a so-so year to comeback and pitch effectively the next season, and the one after that.

    Will this happen to Randy Johnson in 2006 and 2007? While I would not bet on it, I will root for it. And, if Johnson can be a good pitcher for the Yankees after this season, I would not be shocked.

    Looking Ahead

    Posted by on August 22nd, 2005 · Comments (7)

    I know this is too far head to matter, but, assuming that the Yankees stay in rotation, and do not skip any starts, and that rain out game is made up on the next trip to Camden, then in that last series of the year – at Fenway Park – the Yankees scheduled pitchers will be, in this order, Mussina, Chacón, and Randy Johnson.

    Yes, that’s Randy Johnson in the last game of the season – at Fenway Park.

    And, Jaret Wright would be the guy if there’s a tie-breaker game.

    But, again, a lot can happen in five and a half weeks………

    August 22nd vs. The Blue Jays

    Posted by on August 22nd, 2005 · Comments (1)

    I’ve said it once, and I said it a second time, and I’ll keep beating the horse for a while more…..it’s great to see someone, like Wright, who goes about his work with some passion.

    Tonight was important – and this date is now important as well. Thanks to the outcome of tonight’s game, the Yankees now control their own post-season eligibility destiny.

    New York is now tied for first in the AL Wildcard standings (with the A’s and Indians) and 2.5 games ahead of the Twins. There are 39 games left to the season.

    In a nutshell, all the Yankees have to do is play better baseball over those final 39 games than the A’s, Indians, and Twins – and they will be in the post-season. Will it be easy? No – not at all. But, now, the Yankees, assuming they win, and very often, only have to worry about what they do – and not what the other teams are doing. And, that’s good.

    Having control over yourself and your fate is a very basic, yet extremely important, human need. That’s no longer an issue for this Yankees team. The control now is theirs – and it’s up to them to keep it.

    Gamesmanship

    Posted by on August 22nd, 2005 · Comments (3)

    From TSN:

    No one expects general manager Theo Epstein to leave the Red Sox when his contract expires at the end of the season, but some interesting dynamics are in play.

    Epstein, who is completing a three-year contract with an annual salary believed to be in the $300,000 to $400,000 range, likely wants a deal close to the one Boston offered Billy Beane in November 2002 — a reported $13 million over five years. The Red Sox would be more comfortable paying Epstein about $1 million per season, but Epstein possesses the ultimate leverage — he could threaten to bolt for New York if GM Brian Cashman leaves the Yankees. …

    Theo and the Sox about $1.5 million a year apart? This could be interesting. If there’s a way for the Yankees to play this to get Boston to have to pay, they should do it.

    Vince Faison

    Posted by on August 22nd, 2005 · Comments (6)

    The Yankees have signed Vince Faison from the Jackson Senators of the Central Baseball League. It’s an Independent League.

    He’s an OF, now 24-years-old. Bats and throws left. And, he was a former 1st round selection (by San Diego) in the 1999 draft (20th overall).

    From 1999 through 2003, he didn’t hit much at all in the minors – stalling out at Double-A. In January 2004, he was traded to Seattle in the Jeff Cirillo deal. Last year, he was in the Mariners chain and didn’t play much. He had a great year this season with the Jackson Senators. It’s anyone’s guess if he could ever help the Yankees.

    Who’s Hot And Not?

    Posted by on August 22nd, 2005 · Comments (4)

    Batting Average/On Base Average/Slugging Percentage numbers for some Yankees starters, thanks to the Baseball Musings Day By Day Database:

    From July 21st through yesterday:

    Jeter: .333/.401/.496
    Williams: .267/.292/.422
    Sheffield: .296/.362/.461
    Rodriguez: .330/.426/.651
    Matsui: .256/.315/.419
    Giambi: .224/.438/.566
    Posada: .205/.305/.313
    Martinez: .314/.372/.429
    Cano: .216/.256/.288

    From August 7th through yesterday:

    Jeter: .279/.333/.426
    Williams: .293/.318/.488
    Sheffield: .273/.333/.455
    Rodriguez: .352/.435/.759
    Matsui: .241/.328/.389
    Giambi: .097/.333/.097
    Posada: .222/.364/.389
    Martinez: .368/.432/.395
    Cano: .186/.262/.220

    Some observations:

    1. A-Rod sure seems to be doing his best to carry this team on his back. I hope he can keep this up for another six weeks.

    2. It would surely help this team if Matsui would start hitting like we know that he can – when he’s right.

    3. You have to keep playing Tino now until he stops hitting.

    4. Could it be possible that Posada is about to start pulling his weight at the plate? He’s trending up the last two weeks.

    5. Yes, that’s no typo on Giambi. Over the last two weeks, his Batting Average and Slugging Percentage are the same – .097. Yes, that’s oh-ninety-seven.

    6. I remembered hearing that, last month, Robinson Cano had commissioned Vernon Wells Sr. (yes, the father of the Blue Jays CF) to paint a portrait of himself, his dad, Jackie Robinson and Rod Carew – all together. Maybe he should have thrown in Tony Womack too?

    The Ones That Got Away

    Posted by on August 21st, 2005 · Comments (12)

    Runs Saved Above Average (RSAA) is the amount of runs that a pitcher saved versus what an average pitcher would have allowed. A negative Runs Saved Above Average indicates a below average pitcher in this category.

    Here are the 2005 RSAA totals, coming into today’s games, for some recent ex-Yankees pitchers:

    Roger Clemens 51
    Andy Pettitte 28
    Brad Halsey 7
    Esteban Loaiza 5
    Chris Hammond 5
    Jose Contreras 5
    Gabe White 2
    Mike Stanton (with Wash.) 2
    Paul Quantrill (with SD) 1
    Brandon Claussen 1
    Jon Lieber -1
    Orlando Hernandez -2
    Javier Vazquez -3
    David Wells -4
    Jeff Weaver -8

    For a point of comparison, here are the RSAA marks, again, coming into today’s action for the current Yankees hurlers:

    Mike Mussina 14
    Shawn Chacon (with NY) 11
    Randy Johnson 8
    Al Leiter (with NY) -1
    Jaret Wright -9

    Mariano Rivera 21
    Tom Gordon 13
    Aaron Small 5
    Tanyon Sturtze 3
    Felix Rodriguez 0
    Scott Proctor -1
    Alan Embree (with NY) -2

    In terms of the ones that got away, the one that bothers me the most is Brandon Claussen. That could be Doug Drabek Part II. But, in a way, without that deal, maybe the A-Rod deal never happens for New York? So, in the end, maybe Brad Halsey is the one that perhaps they should have found a way to keep?

    Adios Alejo

    Posted by on August 21st, 2005 · Comments (3)

    From The Times:

    Jason Giambi has learned to live without having his personal trainer, Bobby Alejo, at the ballpark. Now he has to get by altogether without him.

    Alejo, who left his job as the Athletics’ strength coach to join Giambi in New York after the 2001 season, is taking a job as the head strength coach for all 18 sports at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He ended his final trip with the Yankees on Sunday, and he starts his new job Sept. 1.

    “He’s great to me; he’s one of my best friends,” said Giambi, who added that he did not know if he would seek a new trainer. “It’s definitely going to be difficult. But I have to finish the season and worry about that at the end.”

    Alejo’s presence had long been a point of contention between Giambi and the Yankees. Giambi signed with the understanding that Alejo would have full access to help him at the ballpark before and after games, supervising his weight training and batting practice.

    But when Major League Baseball imposed stricter rules on clubhouse access in 2002, the Yankees had to hire Alejo as a batting-practice pitcher, even though Giambi still paid him, so that Alejo would have full access.

    Gradually, Alejo’s access dwindled to team flights only, and Giambi has had to change his routine, working out away from the park before games instead of immediately after them.

    “It’s the routine I’ve had since I started in the big leagues,” Giambi said. “Granted, it’s changed since I got over here. I had him in the clubhouse and I had to rearrange my workout routines. But he’s been around me a long time, so he’s seen a lot of things. We could talk about hitting, talk about the game. He was fun to have around.”

    Giambi had long contended that he needed Alejo to keep him free of injuries and productive on the field. He proved he was serious by paying Alejo a sizable salary.

    But the Yankees saw a potential conflict in granting Alejo extensive access, because other players could have complained that their trainers were not treated the same way. This May, the Yankees promoted a batting-practice pitcher, Mitch Seoane, specifically to work with Giambi.

    And I thought Mussina was a prissy baby.

    August 21st @ The White Sox

    Posted by on August 21st, 2005 · Comments (10)

    OK, first the good news:

    A). The bullpen should now be well rested for the four game set against the Blue Jays.

    B). Oakland lost.

    Now, on to the bigger tickets from today………

    This was a bizarre game for Randy Johnson. He allows only 4 total hits in 7 of the 8 innings that he threw – and then in the one big inning, the 4th, he allows 6 hits, including 4 homers, for six runs. And, the dingers allowed were interesting – the first on a low pitch, the second on a high pitch, the third on a low pitch and the last one on a pitch high and wide and probably out of the strike zone.

    Even Johnson was confused – after the game he offered up quotes like “I have no idea” and “I don’t have an explanation” and “I can’t put a finger on it” when asked about that big fourth inning for Chicago.

    After losing seven in a row, maybe it was just the White Sox day this afternoon? Look at Contreras. Here’s a guy, when he was with the Yankees, despite being built like King Kong and having electric stuff, would choke and soil himself every time he pitched against the Boston Red Sox and things got tight in a game. Yet, today, against the Yankees, he was able to get tough every time he was in a jam – and there were a few spots in this game where he could have lost it, as he allowed 11 hits in 8 innings pitched. Go figure.

    Yes, this was a tough one because the Yankees now lose a game in the standings to the Red Sox (who won). But, I truly believe this was one of those games that was not meant to be a win.

    Think about it. Say Johnson only allowed two runs in the 4th – instead of six. That wouldn’t matter because the Yankees only scored two runs today. Or, say the Yankees picked up that run in the top of the 4th that they should have plated. And, give them another run here and another one there. Then, New York would have scored five runs today. But, then that would not matter because Johnson allowed six runs.

    When you don’t score much, and allow the other team to score a lot, it’s just not your day. Best thing the Yankees can do is just try and shake it off and get ready for the next game.

    Posada The Problem For Unit?

    Posted by on August 21st, 2005 · Comments (11)

    The Times sure makes a case:

    John Flaherty will catch Randy Johnson on Sunday for the 13th time this season. In 12 games with Flaherty, Johnson is 6-1 with a 3.84 earned run average. In 13 games with Jorge Posada, he is 5-6 with a 4.55 E.R.A.

    Joe Torre said Flaherty had a better feel for Johnson’s mechanics, which often need adjusting during games. Flaherty stays on Johnson about keeping his arm angle high, and the results have usually been good.

    “We’re not hurting Jorge’s feelings, because he seems to understand,” Torre said. “Because Randy is so big, if things get out of rhythm a little bit, you can pick it up if you see him a lot.”

    Flaherty has caught all but one of Johnson’s starts since June 11.

    I think many Yankees fans expected Unit to be something like 12-3 at this stage of the season, when the Yankees traded for him last winter.

    Perhaps it’s time to consider a new starting catcher for next year? Posada can be traded. I wonder if Showalter would take Jorge in exchange for Rod Barajas and Gary Matthews Jr.?

    Fight Today In The Windy City?

    Posted by on August 21st, 2005 · Comments (2)

    From the Chicago Sun Times:

    Maybe it was an accident. Maybe it was incidental. Maybe it never even happened at all, as A.J. Pierzynski said.

    But I think he did it. Pierzynski threw that elbow Saturday at Yankees pitcher Shawn Chacon, who was tagging him out on a weak ground ball in the eighth inning. Pierzynski, who had flung his bat away after tapping the ball, just couldn’t admit it to himself. The White Sox, whose slump reached seven games with Saturday’s 5-0 loss to the Yankees, are in denial.

    But it’s about to sink in.

    “It doesn’t seem like there’s any fire,” Pierzynski said. “Maybe we need to get into a fight or something.”

    The Sox are percolating, and the lid is about to blow. Orlando Hernandez threw at Yankee Alex Rodriguez for no reason, and Sox manager Ozzie Guillen went into a postgame rant. This wasn’t just another loss, but an important new chapter in their story.

    Two weeks ago, when the Chisox were in New York, I thought we may see a fight. All I can say now is, if there is a brawl today, and that chirp-master Pierzynski is the spark of it, based on his comments from yesterday, he should be suspended for 20 days, at the least.

    Torre And Posada On Girardi

    Posted by on August 21st, 2005 · Comments (0)

    From the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

    “I think he can pretty much do anything that is asked of him,” Torre said recently. “I think he’d be very capable of managing if that’s what he wanted to do. I think he’d like to stay on the field. I think he probably has the intelligence to be a general manager, if he’s crazy enough and decides to do that.”

    “I think he’ll be a great manager,” Posada said. “He really understands the game. He’s all about helping you. He’s going to make sure he does everything to make you become a better player, to make you understand the game. As a manager he will be even better at that.”

    “He’s very prepared, very upbeat, very intelligent,” Torre said. “He learned under Zimmer, so that doesn’t hurt him at all. He can combine the instinctive stuff with the statistical stuff, and he gives you much more than you ask for.”

    I have to wonder – if he’s that good, would he be willing to stick around New York for the next two years as a bench coach? Probably not. If Dusty Baker is let go in Chicago, I think Girardi would take that post.

    Reality

    Posted by on August 20th, 2005 · Comments (2)

    Ten days ago, I thought that the Yankees had little chance of catching the first place Red Sox in the AL East standings.

    Now, as this is being penned, New York sits just three games back of Boston – with each team having 41 games left to play. If I were to maintain at this junction that the Yankees have no chance of catching the Sox, today, I would be a moron. Therefore, I have to say, right now, that the AL East is indeed up for grabs.

    Of course, anything can happen – and it can happen quickly.

    The last time that the Yankees were this close to first place on August 20th of a season, when they were not in first place, was 1993 – when New York trailed Toronto by 1 game. In fact, just a week later, the Yankees caught the Blue Jays are were tied for first on August 27, 1993. However, September 1993 was not a good month for the Yankees – including a killer 5-game losing streak from 9/19 through 9/25. And, in the end, the Yankees finished second in 1993 – seven games behind Toronto.

    Further, if memory serves correct, the last time that the Yankees were not in first on August 20th of a season and then went on to finish first was 1978. And, the time that it happened before that was 1964. (At least, this is what I recall. Maybe I missed something? But, I doubt it.)

    So, there’s not a lot of history to call upon here – even for a franchise as old as the Yankees. In the last half-century there have not been many times where the Yankees made a charge at first during late August and finished first. Therefore, if it were to happen this year, it would be something to cherish.

    In any event, for Yankees fans, the important thing is that, for today, you have every reasonable right to have hope. Yes, it might be gone in a matter of days. But, until that becomes reality – this reality is the only one that matters: The reality that the New York Yankees, today, warts and all, are contenders for first place in the AL East.

    Cool.

    August 20th @ The White Sox

    Posted by on August 20th, 2005 · Comments (12)

    This is why it would not bother me at all to face the White Sox in the post-season. The Yankees can play with them any day.

    OK, I was totally wrong about Shawn Chacón last month. In fact, if he keeps doing what he’s been doing, he might just be the one to lead the Yankees into the post-season. I just hope the Yankees didn’t let him run up his pitch count too much today.

    Lastly, it was interesting to see the other side of El Duque show up today. I’ll always like the guy for what he did for the Yankees in the past – but, the boy can fly off at times – no question.

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