• Mid-Season Report Card, 2008

    Posted by on June 25th, 2008 · Comments (12)

    In 2005, at mid-season, the Yankees earned an Overall Team Grade of C+ here. In 2006, the Overall Team Grade was B- (half-way through the season). And, last year New York earned an Overall Team Grade of D (through the first half of the season). What will it be this season? Read on…

    Overall Team Batting: C
    Comments: In terms of scoring runs, the Yankees currently sit near the middle of the pack, team-wise, in the A.L. However, they’re much closer, in terms of run totals, to the teams near the bottom of the heap (like the Blue Jays and Royals) than they are near the top teams (like the Rangers and Red Sox). Hence the so-so grade of “C” here.

    Batting at Home: C
    Comments: Ditto the above. Word for word.

    Batting on the Road: C+
    Comments: In terms of team road OPS, the Yankees rank high in the A.L. Yet, in terms of team road runs scored, the Yankees are a middle of the pack team. So, here, they get credit for setting the table – but, they take a ding for not getting runners home.

    Batting with Runners in Scoring Position with 2 Outs: C
    Comments: Again, the Yankees are a middle-of-the-road team here. In terms of OPS for this split, New York is about 100 points behind the Red Sox and about 100 points ahead of the White Sox – who are, respectively, the best and worst in this split at this moment in the league.

    Overall Team Pitching: C
    Comments: In terms of overall ERA, the Yankees currently sit near the middle of the pack, team-wise, in the A.L. (Maybe the Yankees theme song this season should be “Middle of the Road“?) New York is about three-quarters of a run better, in ERA, than the Rangers and about three-quarters of a run worse, in ERA, than the A’s – who are, respectively, the worst and best in overall team ERA at this moment in the league.

    Starting Pitching: C-
    Comments: In terms of starters’ ERA, the Yankees currently sit near the middle of the pack, team-wise, in the A.L. (Yeah, it seems like this Yankees mid-season report card is being brought to you via the Cut-and-Paste feature of Microsoft XP.) However, they’re much closer, in terms of starters’ ERA, to the teams near the bottom of the heap (like the Mariners and Rangers) than they are near the top teams (like the A’s, White Sox and Angels). Hence, the C- mark here.

    Bullpen: C
    Comments: Hawkins offsets Rivera. Ohlendorf offsets Veras. Farnsworth offsets Ramirez. I think you get the idea here. For every good story in the Yankees pen, to date, there’s an equally bad story.

    Outfield Defense: C
    Comments: This is the average of a “B-” in LF, a “B-” in CF and an “D” in RF.

    Infield Defense: C
    Comments: On the whole, I would say the infield defense as been “O.K.” for the Yankees in the first half of 2008. There has been an occasional error here and there – as well as an occasional great play. But, nothing huge, either way, that warrants a great or terrible grade here.

    Catching/Game Calling: C+
    Comments: Yankees catchers have thrown out about one-third of the runners attempting to steal on them, to date, this season. Most of that has been Jose Molina. On the whole, in terms of defense, there’s not been a lot to complain about with the Yankees catching so far. Of course, this could change in the second half now that Posada is back.

    Overall Fielding: C
    Comments: The Yankees defensive efficiency mark, to date, is .688 – and that’s not good. Ideally, you’d like to see that be 10 to 15 points higher. That’s where the good teams sit in this stat. Hence, the so-so grade here.

    Overall Team Grade: C
    Comments: Reading all of this, were you expecting something else?

    In a nutshell, this Yankees season, to date, has been better than the first half of 2007; but, not as good as the first half of 2006. It’s pretty much on the mark with 2005. Check out the following:

    Yankees current record: 41-36, 5.5 GB of 1st
    Yankees 2007 record at this mark: 37-40, 11 GB of 1st
    Yankees 2006 record at this mark: 45-32, 3 GB of 1st
    Yankees 2005 record at this mark: 39-38, 6 GB of 1st

    In 2005, the Yankees got lucky with Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon in the second half of the season and made a surge in the standings. And, they’re going to need the same thing to happen this season as well.

    You Gotta Be Kidding Me

    Posted by on June 25th, 2008 · Comments (3)

    My buddy Phil just gave me a heads-up on this one. Some banana is selling tickets for the last regular season home game at Yankee Stadium on Stub-Hub. They’re wheelchair seats behind the wall in left-field. The asking price? One million bucks per ticket. I mean, seriously, com’on. When I hear stuff like this…I cannot blame the Yankees for taking tickets away from some people.

    So, What Do You Think?

    Posted by on June 25th, 2008 · Comments (13)

    Tomorrow, I’ll be in the SNY studios reporting on the Yankees fans’ perspective to the upcoming Subway series with the Mets. In addition, I’ll be speaking to suggested/required next steps for the Yanks – and their fans moving forward.

    So, what do you think? You can share your thoughts here, in the comments section. Or, you can drop me an e-mail. Thanks in advance for your feedback!

    Kid Carter Takes Shot At General Joe

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

    Via George King -

    For a guy who played the game with Hall of Fame talent and smarts, Gary Carter is saying and doing some dumb things.

    Talking to the L.A. Times about not getting a chance to manage in the big leagues, Carter took a big and unnecessary shot at Joe Girardi and the Steinbrenner family.

    “[The] pictures Joe Girardi must have on Steinbrenner,” said Carter, who is managing in a California independent league.

    When those words were relayed to Girardi following last night’s 12-3 defeat to the Pirates at PNC Park, Girardi listened without comment. Asked if he had a bad history with Carter, Girardi said he didn’t.

    “He was always cordial and nice to me,” Girardi said.

    My initial reaction on this is the same that Yankees fans had back on April 16, 1985 – towards Carter.

    I could not stand Gary Carter when he played for the Mets. He was a “Red Light” player – long before anyone ever hung that term on Curt Schilling. When he was on the field, Carter always knew which T.V. camera was hot.

    Later, after he retired, my position on Carter softened – and I was happy for him when he was selected for Cooperstown.

    Now, after he lobbied for Willie Randolph’s job (with the Mets) – while Willow was still in it – and this, well, Carter is starting to sound like a whiney and complaining menopausal wash-woman in need of some good meds.

    June 24th @ The Pirates

    Posted by on June 24th, 2008 · Comments (12)

    This was the first time that the Yankees have ever played at PNC Park.

    What a beautiful ballpark. What a terrible game.

    Guess what? The Yankees now have to win the next two games in order to win this series. Yes, if the Yankees split the next two games, then they will have lost a series to the less than stellar Pittsburgh Pirates.

    Why would this be a big deal? Look at it this way: Assume the Yankees do go ahead now and split the next two games with the Buccos. This would put New York’s season W-L record at 42-37. But, more importantly, this would make the Yankees 30-37 this season against all teams not named the Mariners, Astros and Padres. And, with 79 games then under their belt (which is basically half the season), this then would be testament that the 2008 Yankees are not a very good baseball team. And, Yankees fans should then level set their expectations, accordingly.

    Of course, having Chamberlain and Mussina going for New York in their next two games (in Pittsburgh) should help their chances of winning both games. Then again…it also makes it worse if the Yankees end up losing one or both of these games as well.

    Lastly, some words on two of the Yankees pitchers this evening. Darrell Rasner has now allowed 21 ER in his last 27 IP. Has the clock struck midnight on him? It could be true. And, let’s be honest, LaTroy Hawkins should be given his walking papers before he leaves the clubhouse this evening. He may be a nice guy to have in the clubhouse, etc. But, he’s right up there with the likes of Juan Acevedo, Felix Heredia, and Felix Rodriguez in terms of recent and really stinky Yankees relief pitchers. Com’on Cash…cut the cord on this one already.

    Christopher Smith

    Posted by on June 24th, 2008 · Comments (2)

    Some belated skinny on the Yankees 5th round draft pick this year – left fielder Christopher Smith – via the Compton Bulletin:

    Just over a week after graduating from Centennial High School, local baseball star Christopher Smith boarded a plane last Thursday headed for Florida to train and play rookie ball for the New York Yankees.

    Smith, who said he’s been playing baseball since his early T-ball days at Gonzales and Enterprise parks, was June 5 drafted by the major league organization in the fifth-round pick of this year’s First-Year Player Draft. He signed with the Yankees June 13 at his grandmother’s home.

    “It was very exciting,” said the 18-year-old Yankees farmhand, who up until signing was also contemplating going with USC, to which he had verbally committed. What makes it even more exciting, he said, is that he’s a big Yankees fan.

    Smith’s stats are impressive. His batting average alone – .708 with 12 home runs in 20 games – is standout, being much higher than that of most major league professional players, according to Smith’s coach. Additionally this past season, Smith had 43 RBIs and posted slugging and on-base averages of 1.361 and .744, respectively. In 72 at-bats, he struck out a mere three times.

    According to Maxpreps.com, Smith’s batting average was second in the state and in the nation. His slugging and on-base averages ranked first in the state and second in the nation.

    Coming into the draft, Baseball America did not have Smith listed as one of the Top 200 Prospects for this year. Pretty amazing, huh? Second highest OPS in the nation and not in the Top 200? It probably has something to do with the level of his competition.

    It will be interesting to see how Smith handles the Gulf Coast League this summer. Stay tuned.

    Justin Christian Called Up

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

    Via George King -

    With Johnny Damon sidelined by an injured foot, the Yankees today called up outfielder Justin Christian for tonight’s game against the Pirates at PNC Park.

    Chrisitan is in the starting lineup, batting eighth and playing left field.

    Damon, who has pain in his left arch, said, “Sunday I couldn’t move. I had no chance to swing the bat or chase the ball.”

    Billy Traber was optioned to make room for Christian, and Steven White was outrighted off the 40-man roster.

    Christian, who started his professional career in the independent Frontier League in 2003, was elevated from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Triple-A) where he batted .309 (59-for-191) in 55 games.

    The 28-year-old adds a pinch-runner to Joe Girardi’s bench, which has lacked that element all year. Christian was 18-for-21 in stolen base attempts at SWB.

    Back in August of 2006, I shared some background on Christian. Click here to see it.

    If he was five years younger, you might be able to consider Justin Christian to be a Chad Curtis type player. However, since he’s not five years younger, he’s more like a Bob Brower type player.

    But, hey, even Bob Brower had a few moments in the sun for the Yankees.

    Damon Wants To Be An All-Star

    Posted by on June 24th, 2008 · Comments (6)

    Via Newsday -

    Three weeks from today, the best players in the American and National leagues will line up along the baselines at Yankee Stadium for the 79th All-Star Game. At least two and as many as six will be Yankees.

    Johnny Damon wants to be one of them.

    “I’m ready to go out and prove myself as one of the better guys in the game,” the left fielder said Sunday. “There’s been so many All-Star Games where I felt like I deserved to go. I feel like I’ve missed a couple and going toward the end of my career, three times sounds better than two.”

    It appears that Manny Ramirez, Josh Hamilton, and Ichiro Suzuki will be voted to the team.

    Ramirez and Hamilton deserve to be on the team. Ichiro? I suppose, based on past performance, he has a case. After those three, Milton Bradley, Grady Sizemore, and J.D. Drew deserve to be on the team as well.

    Then, it gets interesting. It’s a battle between Jack Cust, B.J. Upton, Nick Markakis, and Carlos Quentin – along with Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui – to maybe make the team as another reserve outfielder.

    If Brian Roberts and Bobby Crosby make the team, maybe that takes Nick Markakis and Jack Cust out of the picture? And, if Joe Crede is chosen to back-up A-Rod at third (and he should be!) then maybe that takes Carlos Quentin out of the mix?

    Damon’s biggest speed bumps may be B.J. Upton and Hideki Matsui.

    From a Yankees fan perspective, if it came down between Damon and Matsui, who would you rather see on the All-Star team?

    Pavano & Hughes In Rehab Race?

    Posted by on June 24th, 2008 · Comments (8)

    Via George King -

    Dropping him into the clubhouse might prove to be too much of a challenge, but there is a chance Carl “American Idle” Pavano could be ready to pitch for the Yankees before Phil Hughes.

    “I haven’t asked, but it’s possible,” GM Brian Cashman said last night. “Pavano should be ready by August and Hughes in August.”

    Considering Pavano, who is trying to rebound from last year’s Tommy John surgery, is throwing curveballs off a mound and Hughes (fractured rib) isn’t even on a mound, Pavano would be considered ahead of Hughes.

    “The rehabs are different,” Cashman said. “Phil Hughes will start throwing from flat ground, but it won’t be as long (as Pavano’s).”

    Now that the Yankees are serving ice cream in their clubhouse again, I’m sure that Pavano is a man on a mission. It wouldn’t shock me to see Carl beat Phil back to the Bronx.

    Long: Injury Reason For Jeter’s Slump

    Posted by on June 24th, 2008 · Comments (2)

    Via Mark Feinsand -

    Based on his current statistics, Jeter is on pace for 87 runs, 22 doubles and nine home runs, while his on-base and slugging percentages sit at an unusually low .336 and .379, respectively.

    Those totals would all mark career lows for Jeter, who has averaged 114 runs and 32 doubles in his 12 full seasons, not to mention his career on-base and slugging percentages of .386 and .459.

    Jeter won’t even offer a guess at the reason for his declining numbers, but Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long has his own theory.

    “I can tell you that he probably lost 30-35 points in his average due to his hand injury, but he’d never admit that,” Long said. “His swing wasn’t the same, he was favoring it and he got into some problems when it came to staying behind the baseball, which has always been his strength. He still contributed and helped us in other ways, but his hitting suffered.”

    Well, in his last 11 games, in 48 PA, Jeter has put together a BA/OBP/SLG line of .318/.375/.409 – so, it appears that his hand is now fine, no?

    If Jeter continues to hit from here out, then Long’s theory has some merit. But, if Jeter heads south again with the bat…then…can you still blame it on his hand injury?

    Giambi’s Mustache

    Posted by on June 23rd, 2008 · Comments (16)

    I have to confess, I don’t get the big deal about Jason Giambi’s mustache. People are acting like he has pulled a Mike Tyson and got a face tattoo – or something.

    As a kid, watching the Yankees, I saw many players with mustaches: Catfish Hunter, Dick Tidrow, Oscar Gamble, Goose Gossage, Sparky Lyle, Ron Guidry, Reggie Jackson, and Thurman Munson come to mind.

    And, even as a young adult, I recall Yankees such as Don Mattingly, Willie Randolph, Dave Winfield, Mike Pagliarulo, Rick Cerone, Wade Boggs, Lee Guetterman, Greg Cadaret, Gary Ward, and Steve Balboni sporting a mustache at times.

    And, recently, players such as Gary Sheffield, Tom Gordon, David Wells, Gabe White and Sal Fasano have played for the Yankees while wearing a mustache.

    Now, I should confess that I’m somewhat “pro” mustache – as I had one during the 1980′s, the 1990′s and the first four years of the 2000′s. Basically, as soon as I could grow one, I did, and I kept it until December 31, 2003. I took it off to surprise my wife. Plus, it was starting to be more gray than anything else – and I would never consider coloring it, etc. (Click here to see it at the height of it’s mustachedom.)

    Anyway, getting back to Jason Giambi…well…he grew a mustache. Give the guy a break. Why is this such a story? At some point, I would have to imagine that all this attention to his mustache must be annoying.

    Or, did I miss something, where, in the last five years or so, it’s become a big event warranting public focus when someone decides to feature some facial hair above their upper lip?

    June 2008 Survey Question #5

    Posted by on June 23rd, 2008 · Comments (7)

    Please consider taking the following poll:

    {democracy:10}

    Thanks in advance. And, please feel free to add comments on your opinion in the comments section below.

    Community Standards Reminder

    Posted by on June 23rd, 2008 · Comments Off

    What follows below is an important reminder about the WasWatching.com Community Standards.

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    This Week’s David Robertson Report

    Posted by on June 23rd, 2008 · Comments (12)

    Last week it was the Post singing the praises for David Robertson. This week it’s the Daily News. Via Mark Feinsand:

    Robertson, a 5-11 righthander, was taken in the 17th round of the 2006 draft after serving as the closer at the University of Alabama. The Yankees thought of him as a draft-and-follow player, but after an impressive summer in the Cape Cod League in which he developed an above-average curveball, the Yankees gave him a $200,000 bonus to leave college and join the organization.

    “He was a completely different pitcher when he started throwing the curveball, so we had to sign him,” Cashman said. “Since he’s been in pro ball, he’s just crushed every level he’s been at. He’s getting closer.”

    Robertson’s curveball may be his best pitch, but that’s not his only weapon. Yankees pitcher Billy Traber, who played with Robertson in Scranton, says the diminutive reliever has three effective pitches, all of which he throws with great control.

    “He throws strikes, which is his best asset,” Traber said. “The velocity is there, but he just attacks the zone. He’s in control out there. He’s got good stuff; a good curveball, a good changeup and good life on his fastball, but he throws strikes.”

    “He’s a guy you root for. He’s just a little short guy who goes out and pounds the zone,” Traber said. “He’s fun to watch. You’re going to see him. I’m not GM, but I’d say he’s probably the next guy. I think you’re going to like him.”

    The Yankees have used LaTroy Hawkins just 5 times in their last 18 games. And, three of those five games were somewhat blow-out losses. It’s pretty clear that they don’t trust him – with good reason.

    Why is Hawkins still on this team and why is Robertson still at Triple-A? It makes no sense. What is Cashman waiting for?

    Stitches For Farnsworth

    Posted by on June 23rd, 2008 · Comments (3)

    The aftermath of Kyle Farnsworth trying to barehand a comebacker yesterday, via the Post:

    Farnsworth needed three stitches between his right ring and pinkie fingers but said he doesn’t expect to miss significant time. It happened before.

    “In (Class) A ball. It happened in the same exact spot. I got four stitches. I didn’t miss any time. They just taped it together and I still pitched,” recalled Farnsworth, who seemed more relaxed than his manager.

    Since May 17th, Farnworth has pitched in 15 games for the Yankees and has an ERA of 6.00 in that span. Batters facing him during this time have fashioned a BA/OBP/SLG line of .345/.415/.724 against him as well.

    Maybe the Yankees should think twice about running Kyle right back out there after this injury?

    June 22nd vs. The Reds

    Posted by on June 22nd, 2008 · Comments (17)

    I could be wrong; but, I think the rain delay during the sixth inning helped the Yankees in this one today. The way Johnny Cueto was pitching this afternoon, I like my chances better facing Gary Majewski in the sixth rather than having to hit off Cueto for another frame. And, without those three runs in the sixth, this is a much closer game – and perhaps the end result is different?

    In any event, this was a good one to win. Getting swept by the Reds would have been a bummer.

    Speaking of bummers, I can’t believe that Kid Griffey got a standing-ovation from the Yankee Stadium crowd after he homered in the eighth. He didn’t deserve it.

    So, now, it’s an off-day tomorrow, followed by three at the Pirates and then the Mets for four games in three days. Let’s hope the Yankees don’t look past the Buccos. Last season, the Yankees beat up on Pittsburgh, pretty good, for three games at the Stadium (in early June). Some of the Pirates may remember that and they could be pumped for this rematch.

    Some post-game video, via SNY’s Geico SportsNite:

    The Incredible Hulk

    Posted by on June 22nd, 2008 · Comments (6)

    No, this is not about Jason Giambi.

    My wife and I went to see The Incredible Hulk (movie) today. Granted, I went in with moderate expectations. But, I liked it. In fact, I liked it more than Iron Man (which we saw last month). Of course, any movie with Ed Norton is usually good. And, Norton gives The Incredible Hulk some legs – as he attracts and keeps your attention. Tim Roth and William Hurt did a good job in this one as well. Liv Tyler was sort of…blah. But, it didn’t ruin the film. If you’re a fan of the Marvel Studio films, I recommend checking this one out.

    In terms of all the Marvel Studio theatrical releases that I’ve seen, here’s where I would place The Incredible Hulk:

    1. Blade: Trinity (2004)
    2. Spider-Man (2002)
    3. Blade (1998)
    4. X-Men (2000)
    5. Blade II (2002)
    6. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
    7. X2 (2003)
    8. The Incredible Hulk (2008)
    9. X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
    10. Spider-Man 3 (2007)
    11. Fantastic Four (2005)
    12. The Punisher (2004)
    13. Daredevil (2003)
    14. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
    15. Iron Man (2008)
    16. Hulk (2003)
    17. Ghost Rider (2007)
    18. Elektra (2005)

    Ghost Rider and Elektra are on the list because I saw them. But, they were pretty bad.

    What about films based on DC Comics? The only ones there, that I truly liked – in the sense that I would want them in my DVD collection – are: Batman (1989), The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003), and Batman Begins (2005).

    If I had to place them in the list with the Marvel Studio films, I would rank “Batman Begins” between “Blade II” and “Spider-Man 2.” (Yeah, it’s that good.) And, I would place “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” between “X2″ and “The Incredible Hulk.” (Many would disagree with this – but, for some reason “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” just sits well with me.) Lastly, I would sit “Batman” (from 1989) between “Spider-Man 3″ and (the) “Fantastic Four.”

    Hellboy (2004) – taken from Dark Horse Comics – was a pretty good film. (And, the sequel, coming out soon, looks promising.) If I were to place “Hellboy” on the list above, I would squeeze it in just outside the ‘top ten’ – right around where “Fantastic Four” sits.

    Salfino: Yanks Looking To Deal Alan Horne?

    Posted by on June 22nd, 2008 · Comments (5)

    Michael Salfino’s latest contribution to SNY.tv is entitled “Sounding the Horne?Click here to read the feature.

    In the feature, Salfino asks the question: Could [the Yankees] be trying to protect [Alan] Horne’s value [by keeping him in the minors] in anticipation of a trade?

    In his last two Triple-A starts, Horne has gone 6+ innings and allowed 3 earned runs (both times). That’s not terrible. So, why not give the kid a chance in the majors – over someone like Sidney Ponson – when you have the need? Granted, left-handed batters have hit Horne well in the minors this season – so, maybe that’s a Yankees concern?

    Or, just maybe, the Yankees are trying to deal Alan Horne – and Salfino is correct in that they do not want to have him get undressed by big league hitters and lose some value?

    Serby Q&A With Moose

    Posted by on June 22nd, 2008 · Comments (5)

    Via Steve Serby’s Sunday Q&A With…Mike Mussina in the Post today -

    Q: Would your career be unfulfilled if you didn’t win a championship?

    A: No. Unfulfilled is too strong a word. I’ve been really lucky. I’ve played a long time, on some really good teams, and I’m still out there doing something that I always loved to do. It’s great to be a champion and I’d obviously love to have it. But I don’t think my career is gonna be defined by the fact that I didn’t happen to win a championship if we don’t win this year or next year or whenever I retire.

    I’m in the process of reading “Living on the Black: Two Pitchers, Two Teams, One Season to Remember.” And, I have to confess, I’m starting to see a side of Mussina that I can appreciate…in terms of him as a person. I’ll wait until I finish the book before I say I’m now a big fan of Mussina…because you never know. But, I think I’m starting to soften on my stance that Moose is a snob, priss, and a carpetbagger…as I could have been wrong about some of that…based on what I am now learning about him.

    June 21st vs. The Reds

    Posted by on June 21st, 2008 · Comments (0)

    Well, if playing the Yankees is your litmus test, it’s probably safe to say that the Cincinnati Reds are better than the Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros, and San Diego Padres.

    I almost want to say that it’s a shame Dan Giese was not lifted today after his stellar first six innings – and he was awesome today for the first six. And, I almost want to say that it’s a shame that the Yankees infantry relievers didn’t pitch better today. As, if those two things happened, that could have made this a closer game.

    But, the fact of the matter is that the Yankees offense, today, was ineffective – and that’s being polite.

    It will be interesting to see what New York does tomorrow with the Reds’ Johnny Cueto. So far, this season, it seems like Cueto is either good for 6 innings and allowing about 2 earned runs; or, he’s “bad” in the sense that he doesn’t make it to the sixth and allows at least a run per inning pitched. It could help the Yankees that Cueto has been hit hard when he’s pitching on the road, to date, this year.

    Let’s hope that Andy Pettitte has his “A” game tomorrow. Losing three in a row, at home, to the Reds, would certainly take away from the seven game winning streak that New York had coming into this series.

    Downtime Today

    Posted by on June 21st, 2008 · Comments Off

    From 4:34 pm EST until 8:47 pm EST, today, WasWatching.com was not available. This was the result of a database malfunction (which required fixing). Please accept our apologies for any inconveniences which this downtime may have caused you. It was clearly beyond our control. Thank you for your patience during this downtime.

    THT’s Kalk Looks At Hughes

    Posted by on June 21st, 2008 · Comments (7)

    (Thanks to WasWatching.com reader “OnceIWasAYankeeFan” for the heads-up on this one.)

    I just read Josh Kalk’s “Anatomy of a player: Phil Hughes” at The Hardball Times. Josh concludes that:

    Phil Hughes has a huge amount of upside, but there still are concerns. If he continues to not use his slider and change-up, he effectively becomes a two pitch pitcher. Now despite what you might have heard, starters can make it in this league with only two pitches as long as they are both quality pitches and if he can control them well. Hughes’ control doesn’t seem to be an issue despite his spate of walks this year. Everything that I read makes me think his control will be between good and great. The quality, though, might be an issue.

    The fastball that Hughes has shown so far is average at best. He might be able to spice up the movement with a lowered arm angle or make some mechanical adjustments to get back some lost velocity, but if it continues as it is right now, major league batters will hit it hard. His curve has extraordinary movement but maybe too much movement for his own good. If hitters don’t have to worry about the slider and the change, identifying the curve will be that much easier because I don’t see a good solution to how he can disguise the pitch any better than he already is.

    I feel like it is paramount that he throws his slider or change-up more often (preferably both) to keep hitters honest. Even if neither of these pitches are plus pitches right now, the slider at least has that potential. Most of Phil Hughes’ future is ahead of him and he should turn into a great pitcher, but he isn’t there yet. Time will tell if he makes it or not.

    This is an interesting read. To me, it paints Phil Hughes as being the next Aaron Sele.

    Funny, Sele was a first round pick (23rd overall) in the 1991 amateur draft (by the Red Sox). And, Hughes was a first round pick (23rd overall) in the 2004 amateur draft (by the Yankees). Cue up that Twilight Zone theme music…

    Related, in case you missed it in the past. Kalk also once took a look at Robinson Cano too.

    Moose Not Happy With IBB Call

    Posted by on June 21st, 2008 · Comments (4)

    Via Newsday -

    Mussina looked in to Jose Molina for a sign and saw four – the catcher was holding up four fingers to signify an intentional walk ordered by Joe Girardi. To a rookie. In the fifth inning.

    Mussina did what he was told and walked Jay Bruce, a lefthanded hitter with 90 big-league at-bats. But the next batter, righthanded-hitting Jolbert Cabrera, laced Mussina’s first pitch for a double down the leftfield line, driving in two runs.

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    Griffey Deserves To Be Booed At Stadium

    Posted by on June 21st, 2008 · Comments (6)

    Via the Post -

    Ken Griffey Jr. didn’t make the walk out to Monument Park yesterday, and has no plans to do so this weekend.

    He won’t stop to smell the roses, because Griffey figures he will have to hold his nose.

    “My favorite Yankee Stadium memory?” the Reds slugger said last night. “It’s leaving Yankee Stadium.”

    Griffey is no fan of history, and no fan of the Yankees since Billy Martin, who has been dead for 17 years, yelled at a young Griffey while his dad, Ken Sr., was a member of the Bombers.

    Once, Junior said he would never play for the Yankees for that reason alone.

    “The Reds haven’t been here in 30 years,” he said before the Reds’ 4-2 victory last night. “For us it’s a road trip

    If you’re a Yankees fan, and you’re reading this, and you have a chance to go to the game today or tomorrow, please consider showing Kid Griffey the same lack of respect that he has now voiced towards Yankee Stadium.

    In other words, give Griffey “the works.”

    June 20th vs. The Reds

    Posted by on June 20th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    Hey, this Edinson Volquez kid is pretty good. So, what can you do?

    On the bright side, Hideki Matsui’s knee allowed him to play again and Mike Mussina gave the Yankees a solid eight innings in this contest.

    Sure, that top of the fifth inning could have played out a little differently – and that would have made this an even closer game. But, you can’t win every game. And, very few teams are beating Volquez this season.

    Games like this one…you just rub some dirt on it…try and walk it off…and come back tomorrow.

    Schedule Helping Yanks?

    Posted by on June 20th, 2008 · Comments (7)

    Bill Madden, of the Daily News, raises an interesting point today.

    Are the Yankees playing really well since May 20th? Or, is a big part of it having a soft schedule now – with so many inter-league games?

    Remember the 2006 season? The Boston Red Sox, that year, were sitting pretty (in first place) with a record of 52-32 on July 7th. They looked real good at that point.

    But, part of that was because they went 16-2 in inter-league play. Then, when a few injuries set in and they were not strong enough to overcome them, Boston finished in third place that season.

    Could it be that the schedule, now, for the Yankees is hiding New York’s short-comings – whatever they may be? We’ll probably have to wait until July or August to find out. But, it’s worth keeping on the radar.

    Pat Venditte Video

    Posted by on June 20th, 2008 · Comments (6)

    On one hand…

    and, on the other hand…

    If you haven’t checked out Pat Venditte’s Wikipedia Page yet, you might want to…it gives you a lot of information on him.

    Schilling’s Cooked

    Posted by on June 20th, 2008 · Comments (14)

    The end is now here for Boston’s Curt Schilling.

    It’s interesting to look at the Red Sox’ pitching today. Schilling was a non-factor this season. So far, Clay Buchholz has been a bust. Josh Beckett has been just “O.K.” But, what’s saved Boston has been the pitching of Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jon Lester, and (to an extent) Justin Masterson.

    In some ways, you can almost say that the difference between the Yankees and the Red Sox is that Daisuke Matsuzaka is not Kei Igawa; and, that Jon Lester is doing what the Yankees expected Phil Hughes to do (this season).

    June 2008 Survey Question #4

    Posted by on June 20th, 2008 · Comments (4)

    Please consider taking the following poll:

    {democracy:9}

    Thanks in advance. And, please feel free to add comments on your opinion in the comments section below.

    Catching Up With A Sunk Cost

    Posted by on June 20th, 2008 · Comments (3)

    Rainer Sabin has an excellent feature today in the Times on Brian Cashman’s $46 million dollar man – it’s entitled “Igawa Searching for a Way Back to New York.” Here’s a clip:

    [Igawa] certainly did not imagine he would be here, toiling in the minors and playing games of little consequence in half-empty ballparks. Neither did the New York Yankees, who spent $26 million just to negotiate with Igawa and $20 million more to pry him away from the Hanshin Tigers of the Central League in Japan two years ago.

    “We would like him to help our big-league club right now and we think he’s making progress,” the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre pitching coach Rafael Chaves said. “But it’s not as fast as we would have hoped.”

    How low is Igawa on the Yankees list? Look at it this way: Cashman just went out and picked up Sidney Ponson, with the intention of him starting some games for the Yankees, rather than turn to Igawa (while Worm Killer Wang is out).

    When you’re below Sidney Ponson in the “entering the clubhouse and finding a ball in your shoe” pecking order, you’re just about dead last on the team’s confidence list.

    Forty-six million. Wow. Even for the Yankees, that’s not chump change. Think the Yankees want to call a do-over on this one?

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