• BTF: Looking Forward to 2008: New York Yankees

    Posted by on April 27th, 2008 · Comments (4)

    Thanks to Sean McNally for asking me to be part of his panel over at BTF for “Looking Forward to 2008: New York Yankees.”

    Last year Sean pegged me as being “irascible.” This season, I’m listed as “the Yankee blogosphere’s resident curmudgeon.” Hey, Sean, is this considered a promotion?

    How Soon Until Girardi Season Starts?

    Posted by on April 27th, 2008 · Comments (13)

    How soon will it be until we start to see reports on how the Yankees are responding (or not) to new manager Joe Girardi?

    The team is off to a poor start. The media is already starting to question how Girardi is dealing with them on player news. The players are sneaking in candy to the clubhouse behind his back. Some are already questioning Girardi’s line-ups and game moves.

    Sure, it’s only 25 games into the season.

    And, the Yankees pitching – as many predicted – has not been effective outside of Pettitte, Wang, Bruney, Rivera and Chamberlain.

    Also, only Abreu, Jeter, Damon and Posada have hit well with RISP this season, to date. (With A-Rod, Cano, Melky and Giambi killing the team in this regard – see below. Although, for what it’s worth Melky has done well in High Leverage situations.)

    Yankees, with RISP, through April 26th:

    		PA	BA	OPS     BAbip
    RCano		32	.133	.354	.160
    MEnsberg		11	.182	.364	.286
    ARodriguez	24	.143	.440	.231
    JGiambi		27	.056	.444	.059
    AGonzalez		8	.200	.629	.200
    JMolina		9	.222	.667	.333
    WBetemit		6	.333	.667	.500
    MCabrera		23	.188	.693	.182
    SDuncan		4	.333	.833	.333
    HMatsui		19	.267	.954	.250
    CMoeller		6	.250	1.000	.250
    DJeter		24	.429	1.006	.450
    JDamon		25	.300	1.075	.286
    JPosada		14	.333	1.095	.444
    BAbreu		21	.421	1.160	.538
    

    [Stats via Baseball-Reference.com]

    In any event, many expected Girardi to be a serious change agent for this Yankees team – compared to how the team has been in the last three years or so. And, so far, some could suggest that all we have seen is a situation where various feathers have been ruffled with mixed results.

    Me? I’d like to see where the Yankees are at the end of May before making any hard judgements. But, will the rest of the world be as willing to give this another 4-6 weeks? I’m not sure that will happen – and things could start getting hot for Joe, sooner rather than later.

    April 26th @ The Indians

    Posted by on April 26th, 2008 · Comments (10)

    Go Ahead, Give It A Whack!

    Go ahead. Help yourself. Get it out of your system. I know that’s what I feel like doing after watching this game.

    It’s Not A Question Of Fighting Spirit

    Posted by on April 26th, 2008 · Comments (5)

    So far, this season, here’s the Yankees won-loss record broken down by what the score of the game was at the start of the 5th inning:

    When ahead, they went on to win 8 of 9 games.
    When it was tied, they went on to win 3 of 4 games.
    When they were behind, they went on to lose 10 of 11 games.

    That last one is some stat, huh? In games, so far, this season, when the Yankees were losing after four innings, they’ve gone on to lose the game 91% of the time.

    The problem here is interesting – and the issue is actually the 3rd and 5th innings of games. So far, this season, it’s been the 3rd and 5th innings where the Yankees have allowed their most runs. This is the reason for that 1-10 mark. The 3rd inning puts them behind and then the 5th inning finishes them off. So, it’s not really an issue of the Yankees bats not coming back late – more so, it’s a matter of the starting pitchers letting the game get out of hand early and then really sealing the defeat two innings later.

    Darrell Rasner To Start Today

    Posted by on April 26th, 2008 · Comments (3)

    Well, in Triple-A.

    Via Syracuse Online:

    [Darrell] Rasner will take that extra edge to the mound today as Scranton/Wilkes-Barre comes to town to face the Syracuse Chiefs in a two-game weekend set at Alliance Bank Stadium.

    Yankee fans might look to Rasner as an answer to New York’s pitching woes. While young pitchers Philip Hughes (0-3, 7.85 ERA), Ian Kennedy (0-2, 9.64) and Ross Ohlendorf (0-0, 6.06) have struggled in New York, the 27-year-old Rasner has been dominant so far this season in Scranton.

    Rasner is 3-0 in four starts with an eye-popping 0.72 ERA. He’s struck out 21 batters in 25 innings and walked just five. In his most recent start, Rasner shut out Rochester for eight innings on Monday.

    Rasner might be in New York already if not for a stroke of bad luck last season.

    For the first time in his career, Rasner started the regular season in the major leagues, making the Yankees’ 2007 Opening Day roster.

    He started five games for the Yanks. His 1-2 record belied a respectable 4.01 ERA. But in the first inning of his sixth start, a come-backer off the bat of New York Mets outfielder Endy Chavez fractured the index finger on Rasner’s throwing hand.

    In the past, throwing in the bigs, Rasner was usually pretty good for his first 50 pitches – and then he lost it. Perhaps he’s found something and now he’s over that?

    Did you know(?), back in 2002, Rasner was drafted ahead of the following players: Jon Lester, Jonathan Broxton, Jesse Crain, Brian McCann, Curtis Granderson and Rich Hill. Somebody once saw something in the lad. Maybe it’s starting to come out now?

    April 25th @ The Indians

    Posted by on April 25th, 2008 · Comments (6)

    There’s a part of me that sees that Victor Martinez grounder that went for a hit in the bottom of the 5th tonight and wonders if someone with the range of, say, Alberto Gonzalez makes that play, gets the out, and then Pettitte is out of the inning before allowing the two bombs (and blowing the game)? Still, as a leader on the staff, gassed or not, it’s up to Andy to pick up the team and get the final out in that frame before allowing all those two-out runs. And, he didn’t – so, this one is on Pettitte.

    Oh, and, before anyone starts jumping on that “Giambi’s found his stroke” bandwagon, please, let me remind you that Paul Byrd is Mr. Finesse out there on the mound.

    So, now, we have a small losing streak mounting. The next game is on national T.V. (on FOX). New York’s bullpen is somewhat smarting. No pressure for Ian Kennedy tomorrow, right?

    Well, let’s put it this way, if Kennedy doesn’t make it through at least five innings tomorrow, the next time his turn in the rotation comes up, it may be Darrell Rasner out there on the mound instead of him.

    Bruney To See Specialist Today

    Posted by on April 25th, 2008 · Comments (6)

    Via Tyler Kepner -

    Reliever Brian Bruney is probably headed to the disabled list with an injury the Yankees fear could be two torn ligaments in his right foot. Bruney, who will meet with a foot specialist in New York on Friday, said that pitching on an injured foot could lead to more serious damage.

    “I’ve got to make sure I don’t feel anything,” said Bruney, who stumbled while scrambling to cover first base Tuesday. “That’s something that could lead to changing arm angles, trying to brace my foot and hurting my arm. We have to make sure everything’s good.”

    Bruney received pregame treatment for the second day in a row and continues to wear a boot. Manager Joe Girardi said only that the foot was sore, and Bruney all but dismissed the Yankees’ public diagnosis.

    “Sprained midfoot — whatever that means,” Bruney said. “It just hurts.”

    Googling around, I found this on injuries to foot ligaments:

    Ligaments have a poor blood supply, and torn ligaments require as much healing time as fractures. Average healing times are:

    Mild sprains–2 to 6 weeks.
    Moderate sprains–6 to 8 weeks.
    Severe sprains–8 to 10 weeks.

    Based on this, and reading Bruney’s reaction, I’m predicting that he’ll be out for the next 5 weeks (and maybe more) – if it’s true that he has torn ligaments. That’s a shame – as it was somewhat appearing like he had turned a corner this season.

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    Melky & Brand Name Pitchers

    Posted by on April 25th, 2008 · Comments (9)

    Nick-YF from YFSF sent me an e-mail today that contained the following:

    Recently, Bill James talked about how Craig Biggio always did poorly against good to great pitchers, and he felt that was a reflection of his innate ability (he lacked the true talent to be great, but overachieved against mediocre pitchers). To my eyes and memory, it seems that Melky Cabrera is doing the opposite. But I could be wrong. Does Melky hit better against the better pitchers in the league?

    It’s an interesting question, so, I looked into the numbers.

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    Ken Griffey Jr.

    Posted by on April 25th, 2008 · Comments (18)

    Ken Griffey Jr. will be 39-years old next season. He has a contract to play baseball with the Reds in 2009. But, it’s a club option: $16.5 million to keep Griffey in Cincy; or, $4 million to buy him out. Based on his age, injury history, (at times) attitude, and the direction of the club, you have to figure that the Reds will go for the buyout.

    So, what happens if the Yankees let Bobby Abreu walk after this season? Do they move Melky Cabrera to right and open up a spot for Brett Gardner in center? Or, would Hank maybe make a play for Griffey, on a one or two-year deal, to get him to play right field in the Bronx? Does A-Rod, who played with Griffey in Seattle, factor into this somehow?

    Personally, I would hate a move to bring in Griffey next season. Because of his age, rep, injury history, etc., it’s a terrible move. But, I guess anything is possible.

    Joba & Erin Not Sitting In A Tree?

    Posted by on April 25th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    Homerun Derby asks the question: Did Joba Chamberlain piss off Erin Andrews?

    Hey, Andrews is from Lewiston, Maine. That’s about 140 miles north of Boston. She’s a member of Red Sox Nation. Hence, the face.

    Update: Erin says “My bad.” (Hat tip to Sliding Into Home.)

    For Second Year In A Row, Yanks Pen Screams May Day

    Posted by on April 25th, 2008 · Comments (4)

    To me, it seems like Joe Girardi is really working his bullpen hard this season, to date. Granted, there’s good cause for this – as his starting pitchers, outside of Wang or Pettitte, have not always provided many innings in their games. So, I checked the numbers. As of this morning, Girardi has brought a relief pitcher into a game 65 times this season. And, with 6 more games this month, this pro-rates to 82 “calls to the bullpen” before May 1st.

    How does this rank to other recent Yankees teams? It’s pretty bad.

    (more…)

    April 24th @ The White Sox

    Posted by on April 25th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    What a big, fat, waste of a game.

    David Cone On Phil Hughes

    Posted by on April 24th, 2008 · Comments (4)

    A few minutes ago, in the YES lead-in to the first pitch of tonight’s game, David Cone, on Phil Hughes, said that that Hughes’ problem this season has been the second and third time that he’s faced batters in a game – meaning that’s when he gets hit. Not trusting Cone (Sorry David!) I decided to check the stats at Baseball-Reference.com – and, guess what? Cone was right. See the following for Hughes, to date, this season, in terms of what batters do after seeing him once in a game:

    	PA	BA	OBP	SLG       BAbip
    1st PA	37	.233	.324	.300	.269
    2nd PA	33	.407	.515	.556	.478
    3rd+ PA	13	.538	.538	.538	.538
    

    That’s tattoo-city after the first time through the line-up, indeed. How about last season? Here are the numbers:

    	PA	BA	OBP	SLG	BAbip
    1st PA	118	.192	.316	.343	.250
    2nd PA	117	.273	.308	.436	.299
    3rd+ PA	71	.238	.314	.365	.250
    

    Now, that’s much better. This suggests that whatever is happening this year is hopefully a blip type thing. It shouldn’t be a conditioning issue – after all we’ve heard about Phil really being in shape now. Perhaps it’s a pitch selection thing? At the least, it’s something for Girardi, Eiland, Hughes, Posada and Molina to think about…and maybe try something new.

    For Yanks, Last Up Is The Main Man

    Posted by on April 24th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    I was just looking at the Yankees team batting splits for 2008 (to date) over at the SNY.tv stats page. And, I noticed this, in terms of how the Yankees batting order is doing, so far, this season:

    		AVG	AB	OBP	SLG
    Batting	#1	.244	82	.347	.451
    Batting	#2	.237	93	.273	.312
    Batting	#3	.289	90	.347	.500
    Batting	#4	.310	87	.381	.529
    Batting	#5	.296	81	.389	.469
    Batting	#6	.227	88	.261	.330
    Batting	#7	.213	75	.330	.373
    Batting	#8	.273	77	.325	.403
    Batting	#9	.338	71	.405	.563
    

    Look at that BA/OBP/SLG mark for the Yankees #9 batter – it’s the best on the team, across the board. For the most part, the Yankees #9 batters this season have been Melky Cabrera (25 PA), Alberto Gonzalez (20 PA), Chad Moeller (19 PA) and Jose Molina (10 PA). Hey, way to go guys!

    Rosenthal: Cashman Should Go “Johnny Paycheck” On Hank

    Posted by on April 24th, 2008 · Comments (7)

    Ken Rosenthal thinks that Brian Cashman should “bolt” from the Yankees at the end of this season.

    Did you know that the last Yankees G.M. to leave the team, and then go on to be a G.M. for another team was Bob Quinn, Sr.?

    Quinn resigned from the Yankees on October 13, 1989 to take the G.M. spot for the Cincinnati Reds. Good timing for him – as the Reds won a ring in 1990.

    Woody Woodward was the Yankees G.M. in 1987. The next season, he was the G.M for the Philadelphia Phillies. And, after that year, he was the G.M. for the Seattle Mariners for the next 11 seasons.

    Murray Cook was the Yankees G.M. in 1984. The next season, he was the G.M for the Montreal Expos. And, after three years there, he was the G.M. for the Cincinnati Reds for the next two seasons – - until the aformentioned Bob Quinn, Sr. took over from him.

    Bill Bergesch was the Yankees G.M. in 1983. In 1984, he was kicked down to be Murray Cook’s assistant. And, in 1985, he became the G.M. for the Cincinnati Reds – - until the aformentioned Murray Cook took over from him.

    So, there’s an interesting study. Bergesch, Cook and Quinn were the Reds G.M.’s from 1985 to 1992. And, Bergesch, Cook and Quinn were the Yankees G.M.’s – for the most part – from 1982 to 1989. Those Reds teams finished 1st, once, and 2nd, five times. Those Yankees teams were only good in 1985 and 1986 – - but, that’s when Clyde King was the G.M. (after Cook and before Quinn).

    Would Brian Cashman do better outside of New York too? It would be interesting to see how this plays out, if it happens that he does “bolt” from Hank.

    The Last Word On Phil Hughes Fastball

    Posted by on April 24th, 2008 · Comments (10)

    On February 16th of this year, Peter Abraham had this to share on Phil Hughes’ fastball:

    Watched Phil Hughes throw and was impressed with his fastball. After his leg injury in May, he said his heater was 91-92 instead of the usual 93-95 it is. “It wasn’t until the playoffs when I felt complete confidence in my leg,” he said. “That was when I got my fastball back.”

    Hughes said it’s not so much velocity that he counts on. It’s more the “late life” when he can throw harder. “You need your legs to follow throw and get that little extra on the pitch,” he said. “I wasn’t getting that.”

    Note the part about Hughes’ fastball being “usual 93-95″ MPH.

    (more…)

    April 23rd @ The White Sox

    Posted by on April 24th, 2008 · Comments (18)

    Now, that’s the Javy Vazquez that I remember and didn’t love so much.

    You know, coming into this game, Johnny Damon’s BA/OBP/SLG line in games that the Yankees have won this season was .342/.390/.711 (in 41 PA); and, in losses it was .125/.326/.188 (in 44 PA). Last season, in wins it was .307/.397/.463 (in 374 PA); and, in losses it was .213/.277/.294 (in 231 PA). It’s starting to look like…as Johnny Damon goes, so do the Yankees.

    So, what’s up with Mussina? Should we book him for an Eddie Harris moment once every two weeks? It was Harris again in this one, right? Or, was this his Jamie Moyer moment? Either way, I’ll take it – as will Moose and the Yankees.

    This was an interesting game for Joe Girardi. When he came to the mound in the 7th, and began to motion in order to remove Mussina, only to check-arm his signal to the pen upon Posada’s protest, I didn’t know what to make of it. (And, I still don’t.) Is it a good thing that he’s listening to his players? Or, should it be taken as a sign that he’s not fully in charge?

    In any event, as this season unfolds, Girardi has shown one thing: When there’s a win on the table, and it’s starting to look like it may slip, he’s not afraid to lock it down – even if that means bringing in Joba in the 7th or Rivera in the 8th. If he keeps this up, and New York does well this season, Joe may go down in history as the one who broke the relief pitchers role-mold that Tony LaRussa started back-in-the-day with the A’s (and is now the norm in baseball).

    The Greatest Game: The Yankees, The Red Sox, And The Playoff of ’78

    Posted by on April 23rd, 2008 · Comments (1)

    The Greatest GameI’ve just finished reading Richard Bradley’s new book, “The Greatest Game: The Yankees, the Red Sox, and the Playoff of ’78.” 

    I went into this one with some concern – because I’m a huge fan of the 1978 Yankees and because that “Playoff” (or “Play-in”?) Game of October 2, 1978 is a game that I will never forget for the rest of my life.

    Basically, this book was going to have to be awesome, in my mind, to match up with the subject matter that it was covering.  And, as I can share now, “The Greatest Game” was up to the task.

    I loved reading this book.   It met my every expectation and more.  Bradley not only takes you through “the game,” but, he takes you through the background of the players on both teams, the 1978 pennant chase as a whole, as well as throwing in some great pieces on baseball history.

    And,  “The Greatest Game” is near perfect in detail.  I’m a bit of a nitpicker when it comes to books about Yankees teams and players that I followed deeply.  And, I only caught three small mistakes in this book.  On page 78, it refers to Don Gullet’s right arm hurting – when I’m pretty sure it should have referred to his left arm.  On page 99, it referred to Yaz’ homer of October 2nd going down the left-field line when it should have said the right-field line.  And, on page 136,  in one section, it referred to Jack Brohamer as a right-handed batter and not as a left-handed batter.  That’s it – out of many, many – did I say many? – many facts included in this book, those where the only items that I found that we not dead-on correct.

    This aside, “The Greatest Game: The Yankees, the Red Sox, and the Playoff of ’78”  is a very entertaining book.  In terms of the essential library for the modern-Yankees fan, this book is a must inclusion.  I recommend that Yankees fans get this book without delay.  Don’t wait until the next time you’re in a bookstore or surfing Amazon, etc.  Good to the bookstore or your favorite book-website, now, and pick up a copy of Bradley’s book.  Seriously, do it now.  Run.  This book is worth it.

    And, you don’t have to be a Yankees fan to enjoy this book.  It was so well written and evenly attacked that a Red Sox fan should find it as a great read too.  Heck, any fan of baseball history will want to read this book – it’s that good. 

    Again, I went into it with concern, expecting not to be impressed because of how important the subject matter was to me, and I came away from the experience very impressed and extremely pleased.  Richard Bradley gets two, big, thumbs, way up, from WasWatching.com on “The Greatest Game: The Yankees, the Red Sox, and the Playoff of ’78.” 

    Wayne Krivsky For Assitant G.M.?

    Posted by on April 23rd, 2008 · Comments (13)

    Now that Wayne Krivsky is on the job market, I think the Yankees have to make a run at hiring him.

    Krivsky has 30 years of scouting and player evaluation experience at the major leage level. He cut his teeth at the knees of Eddie Robinson, Joe Klein and Tom Grieve in Texas and then was plucked from the Rangers by Terry Ryan of the Twins (to be his right-hand man). Here’s what Terry said about Wayne when he was hired to be the Reds G.M.:

    “Probably the goal of his life was to become a general manager, and it’s become reality,” Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. “He’s bright. He’s organized. He’s a relentless worker. He’s the type of guy that pays attention to detail. He’s good with rules. He’s good with contracts. He’s a good evaluator.

    “He’s got a lot of the attributes that you would want to associate with a general manager.”

    So, what happened in Cincy? The report that I heard was that Krivsky was not a “people person” and was somewhat aloof. As the story goes, some long-term and trusted scouts with the Reds got so tired of his ways that they up and quit.

    Hmm…tons of experience and a decent track record at scouting and player evaluation; but, not a “people person”….basically, Wayne Krivsky is everything that Brian Cashman is not (and vice versa). Sounds like, as a team, Cashman and Krivsky would have some good synergy, no?

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    Salfino: Yanks Pitchers, “By The Numbers”

    Posted by on April 23rd, 2008 · Comments (4)

    Michael Salfino of SNY.tv takes a look at the numbers for some Yankees pitchers and offers who should be sent packing to make room for Joba Chamberlain in the starting rotation. Click here to see his feature. Some highlights:

    Mussina has generated swinging strikes 11 times this year on 319 pitches. That’s five percent of strikes. At his peak, his rate was over three times that and it was 13 percent as recently as 2006. Last year, it was nine percent.

    But Mussina’s control is still good enough to allow him to maintain a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2-1, which is above league average.

    (more…)

    Curse Jersey Current Bid: $82,600.00

    Posted by on April 23rd, 2008 · Comments (4)

    Updating the story from last week, well, that’s one heckuva slice of cheddar, huh?

    Almost eighty-three large. Must be nice to be rich.

    Click here to bid or watch the auction.

    Klapisch: Cano Holding Back Yanks

    Posted by on April 23rd, 2008 · Comments (11)

    Bob Klapisch focuses on Robinson Cano today. Some highlights:

    Instead, it’s the offense, which led the major leagues with 968 runs last year but before Tuesday night’s 9-5 victory over the White Sox, was averaging just 4.3 runs per game, last in the American League East.

    What’s wrong? Just about everything: The veterans have either been hurt (Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada) or useless (Johnny Damon and Jason Giambi). Perhaps the most surprising under-performance of the month is coming from Robinson Cano, who signed a four-year, $30 million deal over the winter, and since has sputtered his way to a .173 average.

    But one major league talent evaluator who tracks the Yankees predicted Cano would suffer in 2008 after Joe Torre went west and took third base coach Larry Bowa with him.

    It was old-school, in-your-face Bowa who kept Cano focused. The scout said that upon Bowa’s decision to join Torre’s staff in Los Angeles, “I had a feeling Cano would suffer because of it.”

    (more…)

    April 22nd @ The White Sox

    Posted by on April 23rd, 2008 · Comments (1)

    Time of the Game: 3:44. Maybe I was just really tired; but, this game seemed longer than that. Not much longer, but, I would have bet (without looking) that it was at least a four hour (nine inning) game. Nice milestone for Wang who hung in there, well, in this one. Via the AP:

    In his 85th career start, Wang became the quickest major leaguer to record 50 wins as a starter since Dwight Gooden got No. 50 in his 82nd start for the Mets on June 29, 1986, against the Cubs. Wang is also the fastest Yankees starter to 50 wins since Ron Guidry got there in his 82nd start in 1979 against Texas.

    Impressive, huh? By the way, Wang is on pace to win 25 games this season. Yeah, I know it’s early – but, wouldn’t that be something?

    Actually, this is a huge win for the Yankees, in my mind. Basically, because of the questions around Mussina, Hughes and Kennedy, New York almost has to win when Pettitte and Wang get the start. So, job well done – and, of course, thank you Octavio Dotel for putting the ball on a tee for Bobby Abreu in the 7th (as that pretty much was the ballgame, right there).

    Who’s To Blame?

    Posted by on April 22nd, 2008 · Comments (20)

    Who’s to blame when situations degenerate?
    Disgusting things you’d never anticipate?

    So, I’m shuttling around the kids today, listening to The Baseball Beat with Charlie Steiner on X-M Radio in the car and Kevin Kernan is the guest of the moment – talking about Hank, Joba, Cashman, Mussina, etc.

    And, Kernan offered something that went like this: ‘None of this would be going on now – Hank making quotes, Hughes and Kennedy being rushed and questioned, Mussina being depended on, the whole Joba debate – if Carl Pavano and Kei Igawa were actually doing what they were supposed to do and are getting paid well to do.’

    Interesting point, huh? I think this is obvious and yet it gets lost in the noise when Hank starts up, and when Cashman and the fans get defensive about facilitating the learning curve of Hughes and Kennedy, etc. Point blank, Brian Cashman – and there’s no question whatsoever that these two were Cashman’s moves – spent $86 million dollars to have Pavano and Igawa be members of the Yankees starting rotation and they bombed.

    So, as a Yankee fan, if you’re upset about Hank’s missives and/or the harsh big league spotlight on Hughes and Kennedy, remember what’s the true ground zero here – and who set this all in motion. This is Brian Cashman’s baby which has turned into a monster – as Kernan reminded us today. It’s an excellent point that should not be allowed to get pushed to the back of the Yankees stage.

    Contreras @ Comiskey

    Posted by on April 22nd, 2008 · Comments (4)

    Jose Contreras has faced the Yankees three times at Comiskey Park (in his career). In those starts, he’s never pitched less than six and two-thirds innings in any game. And, he’s never allowed more than 3 earned runs in any of those appearances. In his last start, against the O’s, Contreras was very sharp.

    I’m starting to get a bad feeling about this Yankees game tonight.

    Rieber On Player Sites

    Posted by on April 22nd, 2008 · Comments (2)

    Anthony Rieber of Newsday takes a look at player websites and blogs. Here’s what he had to say about Phil Hughes’ blog:

    Phil Hughes has received some attention for his site, www.philhughes.wordpress.com. It’s pretty much just Hughes posting, but the posts have gotten less frequent and much shorter lately. Maybe being 0-3 with an 8.82 ERA, he just doesn’t have much to say.

    Know what? That’s not a bad thing. At this point of his career, the way his season is going, Hughes should be more worried about his pitching and less worried about posting to his blog.

    Personally, I would be a tad turned off if Hughes was blogging away, like mad, while his pitching is so poor. So, I don’t see the need to get on him, now, about “less frequent and much shorter” blog entries.

    Posada, If At First…

    Posted by on April 22nd, 2008 · Comments (12)

    The last time that Jorge Posada truly “caught” a game for the Yankees this season was April 8th. That was two weeks ago. Since that time, Posada (when he has played) has mostly been a D.H. for the Yankees. In this role, Jorge’s BA/OBP/SLG line has been (to date): .310/.355/.517 (in 31 PA).

    Posada may have a (in his words) “dead” shoulder; but, it’s not adversely impacting his batting skill.

    On Saturday, the Yankees played Posada at first base. It was the 19th time that Jorge has played there in his big league career. (And, in those 19 games, he’s logged 107.6 innings at the position – making 1 error in 107 chances.) According to Baseball-Reference.com, Posada’s RF/9 innings at first base is 8.86 – compared to a league average RF/9 innings of 9.42 – and that’s not terrible.

    The Yankees claim that Posada may return to catching this week. If Jorge cannot make a return to being the Yankees primary backstop, they should strongly consider making him their primary first baseman (replacing Jason Giambi).

    Heck, at this point, I might even consider doing this move if Posada’s shoulder returns to it’s normal state. Jose Molina and Chad Moeller have both been catchers on first place teams – and they both have World Series rings, albeit earned as back-ups. They’re not going to cost the Yankees any games with their work behind the plate. And, the way that Giambi is hitting, the weak bats of Molina and Moeller would be the same as having Jason in the line-up now.

    Of course, if Posada could catch, you could also start a platoon of Shelley Duncan or Morgan Ensberg with Wilson Betemit at first and sit Giambi. But, considering that Betemit is on the D.L. with corneal ulcers and Duncan is in the minors, at this moment, it’s going to be hard to work such a set-up.

    Hey, in the end, it’s all just food for thought. But, if Posada can’t catch, soon, it will be time to stop thinking about what’s on the menu – and, it will become time to place an order. Me? I think I’m going to go with the Posada First Sacker Special with a side order of Molina-Moeller – - and, please, hold the Giambi.

    Hank’s Still Talking

    Posted by on April 22nd, 2008 · Comments (3)

    Via Pete Caldera -

    Hank Steinbrenner wants to make one thing perfectly clear: He isn’t creating a tempest in Tampa, Fla.

    “Everybody’s trying to make me sound [ticked] off, or panicking. And it’s just not the case,” Steinbrenner said. He’s still pleading patience with his young starters, and he’s not insisting upon Joba Chamberlain’s immediate insertion into the Yankees’ rotation.

    “For someone to suggest that I’m dumb enough to demand that happen [with Chamberlain] now … that really [ticks] me off,” the Yankees’ co-chairman said by phone Monday afternoon.

    “No, you can’t stick him in the starting rotation right now.”

    (more…)

    Hank & Cashman Continue The Joba Tango

    Posted by on April 21st, 2008 · Comments (3)

    Via the Daily News:

    “It’s all of our intention to try to get him back into the rotation by the end of the year,” [Hank] Steinbrenner told the Daily News by phone Monday afternoon. “I’ve addressed it many times, as did Joe (Girardi) and (GM Brian) Cashman. I’m just saying it would be nice to have him there right now. He’s going to be great anywhere we have him but, my preference is as a starter and that’s everybody else’s preference, too.

    “You see what a premium starting pitching is. The bullpen is important, but starting pitching is 70% of it. Your bullpen can’t do you any good if you’re down by five runs quickly every night. It’s logical.”

    Steinbrenner said he was “upset” over the Yanks making Chamberlain a reliever last season, though he acknowledged that the Yankees probably wouldn’t have made the playoffs without Chamberlain’s setup work.

    But, Steinbrenner said, that work delayed Chamberlain’s development as a starter for this season, something [Brian] Cashman says isn’t accurate. “Joba had 35 innings left on his starting limit last year, so he would’ve been shut down in August as a starter and gone to instructional league,” Cashman said. “We took him and transitioned him to the bullpen and he did 24 innings for us out of the major league bullpen.

    “Last year’s bullpen did not impair his ability to start for us now. That work was instrumental in us getting to the playoffs and also for him in pushing his development even further – he knows he can pitch in the big leagues and get big-league hitters out. If he can do that as a starter has to be determined.”

    Cashman insisted there is no disconnect between owner and GM. “I think Hank and everybody, we’re all on the same page,” Cashman said. “These are things we discuss internally all the time and we’ll continue to do so, it’s as simple as that.

    “I don’t believe Hank wants Joba in the rotation yesterday. I think he wants what we all want. Joba is a starter, but the time and place for him right now is to be in the bullpen.”

    Yeah, this is getting silly. But, hey, I bet that Hank and Brian even drink the same beer.

    Cash: I Don’t Know What Set Hank Off

    Posted by on April 21st, 2008 · Comments (9)

    Via Newsday -

    “Joba’s staying in the bullpen right now,” [Brian Cashman] told Newsday in a telephone conversation this morning. “That’s where we’re at. [Putting him in the rotation is] not something that’s going to happen here early on, and [Hank] knows that. We’ve talked about it. I don’t know what set him off.”

    “If you had bet on the kids doing great out of the gate, it wouldn’t necessarily be a safe bet, but we’re betting on them in the long-term, not necessarily in the short term,” Cashman said. “We’re certainly not playing up to our capabilities after 20 games . . . we made our decisions (in the off-season) and our season is now under way. It’s way too early to start making judgments on anything.”

    Interesting. So, the voice of ownership and the G.M. are now having discussions via the media. Maybe Hank should have not popped off on this? Sure, that’s a valid point. But, Cashman is making a mistake by answering Hank via the media with “I don’t know what set him off.”

    Pick up the phone. Call Hank. Work it through that way and then see if you can get Hank to come out with a follow-up that will smooth things out. But, if you’re going to play dueling pistols through the newspapers, that’s a big mistake. Many have tried that in the past in Yankeeland; and, at the end of the day, the Steinbrenners always get the last word.

    Well, at the least, Cashman didn’t play the “One’s a born liar and the other one’s a convicted liar” card. That’s a go straight to jail card, for sure. Go ask Billy.

    Who knows? Maybe Cashman knows this is the end of the line and he doesn’t care about coming back to the Yankees any more? That’s the only reason to play the “papers” game now.

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