• Rate The Yankees July

    Posted by on July 31st, 2008 · Comments (2)

    Back on June 26th, I said that July was a big month for the Yankees – because of all the games that they would get to play at home (in Yankee Stadium).

    For those not aware, 18 of the Yankees’ 25 games in July were played in the Bronx.

    On June 29th, I asked readers of this blog to share how many games the Yankees should win in July.

    Only 6% of those who responded said “Less Than 13.” And, just 25% said “Between 13 And 15.”

    However, 61% of those who responded said that the Yankees should win “Between 16 And 20″ games in July. And, 8% said that New York should win “More Than 20.”

    In the end, the Yankees went 15-10 in the month of July. That’s not a terrible record…but, given that they had so many games at home, you would have liked to see a few more wins in there.

    So, since 69% of “us” (before this month started) said that the Yankees should win at least 16 games this month – and New York won 15, in reality – how would you rate the Yankees peformance, overall, this month?

    Please feel free to add your opinion in the comments section below.

    July 31st vs. The Angels

    Posted by on July 31st, 2008 · Comments (4)

    So, round one of ten goes to the Angels. And, it’s by unanimous decision.

    Three three-run homers. It’s tough to beat that hand.

    This was an important game for the Yankees – because it was Pettitte on the mound against Garland. New York had to win this game. Why? Follow this logic…

    Sidney Ponson starts tomorrow for the Yankees and Darrell Rasner starts on Sunday. How do you think those two are going to do against the Angels?

    Also, Mike Mussina pitches on Saturday. And, that day will be a mess for the Yankees. There’s going to be seventy old-timers in the Yankees clubhouse before the game – and tons of media – with it being the last Old-Timer’s Day at the Stadium. Bottom line…it will be a zoo. It’s going to be a huge distraction for the Yankees team. And, we know how well Mussina does when things are not “typical” for him.

    Honestly, I can see the Angels pounding Ponson tomorrow. And, I can see the zoo-nature of Old-Timer’s Day being something that will be an issue for the Yankees on Saturday. So, say the Yankees end up losing on Friday and Saturday. Add this loss. That puts Rasner on the hill, Sunday, against the best team in baseball, trying to break a three-game losing streak for his team. No pressure there, huh?

    Oh, and, by the way, Ponson will be facing All-Star Ervin Santana, Mussina will face Jered Weaver, and Rasner gets to face John Lackey (and his ERA of 2.93).

    We could be looking at a sweep now…given that Pettitte failed in this one and New York played their way into a “L” tonight.

    Alberto Gonzalez Goes To Washington

    Posted by on July 31st, 2008 · Comments (12)

    Via the National Post -

    The Washington Nationals on Thursday acquired shortstop Alberto Gonzalez from the New York Yankees for righthander Johnny Nunez.

    Considered an above-average defensive player, Gonzalez showed very little with the bat in two different stints with the Yankees this season, batting .071 (1-for-14) in 12 games.

    Gonzalez, 25, was hitting .247 with one homer and 35 RBI in 106 games at Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

    He is expected to join the Nationals on Friday and be in uniform for their game against the Cincinnati Reds.

    Nunez, 22, split this season between Class A Potomac and Class AA Harrisburg, going a combined 2-8.

    This will be the third stop for Nunez – as the Nationals acquired him from the Dodgers (two years ago). At best, he’s a work in progress. His issues: command, lack of a reliable breaking pitch, and fastball that’s only average right now – although some feel that his heater could improve as he gets stronger.

    I don’t get this trade – at all. The only thing that I can guess is that the Yankees think Ramiro Pena is near being major league ready. Because, right now, if something happens to Derek Jeter, and it’s long-term, you’re looking at Wilson Betemit or Nick Green as your shortstop…if it’s not Pena. (And, don’t even start about shifting A-Rod to short…that will never happen.)

    Adiós Manny!

    Posted by on July 31st, 2008 · Comments (14)

    The Yankees play the Boston Red Sox six more times this season. And, now, New York won’t have to deal with Manny Ramirez when they face the Sox.

    This afternoon, Boston traded Ramirez, Brandon Moss, Craig Hansen and $7 million – via a three-way deal with the Dodgers and Pirates – in order to acquire Jason Bay.

    Manny, I won’t miss you…neither will Mike Mussina and a bunch of other Yankees pitchers.

    Murti: The Pudge Report

    Posted by on July 31st, 2008 · Comments (1)

    Sweeny Murti wraps up the Pudge Rodriguez trade from a Yankees perspective – along with some reaction from Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi. The video via SNY.tv:

    It will be interesting to see who takes over the “8th inning role” now – with Farnsworth gone. In the Yankees 107 games this season, to date, Farnsworth pitched in the 8th inning 30 times.

    Jose Veras and Edwar Ramirez have both pitched for the Yankees 14 times in the 8th inning, so far, this season. So, those two will probably get first crack at it…for now.

    Has Joba Been Somewhat Lucky?

    Posted by on July 31st, 2008 · Comments (22)

    One of the stats that they track at The Hardball Times is “Expected Fielding Independent Pitching” (xFIP). It’s a stat that is supposed to a good predicter of a pitcher’s future ERA. It’s sort of like Component ERA.

    For example, last season, Mike Mussina’s ERA was 5.15 – but, his xFIP was 4.58 – and this suggested that Moose was not as bad as he appeared to be in 2007…and could have had a better ERA with some luck/good fielding. (Click here to see where Moose was last year in terms of Component ERA.)

    This season, to date, Joba Chamberlain has an ERA of 2.24 – which is awesome. However, so far, Joba’s xFIP is 3.14 – which is still a great ERA-ish number for a starter to have these days…but it’s not like having one that’s near two.

    Just some food for thought…when looking at Chamberlain’s ERA. It appears that it may be so low via some help from his defense…when you look at his xFIP.

    As a side note, to date, Mike Mussina has an ERA of 3.56 this season versus an xFIP of 3.62…

    …looks like Moose’s ERA is right where it should be, this year.

    Los Darn Angels Of No Mercy (When It Comes To Yanks)

    Posted by on July 31st, 2008 · Comments (1)

    The Yankees will face the Angels today – for the first time this season – and will then have to play them nine more times over the next six weeks. Here’s what General Joe thinks of them, via Tyler Kepner -

    “[The Angels are] the best team in our league right now,” [Joe] Girardi said. “They have the best record; they play very well on the road and very well at home. They do a lot of things right — they pitch, they play defense, they have team speed. They’re an exciting team, and we’re going to have 10 tough games against them.”

    The Angels are blistering hot right now. Yes, they have the most wins in baseball. But, they’ve also just won 18 of their last 24 games. Further, they have owned the Yankees recently – beating New York six of nine times in 2007 and six of ten times in both 2006 and 2005. Do the math on that one: In their last 29 regular season match-ups, the Angels have beaten the Yankees 18 times. Oh, and, by the way, the Angels also now have Mark Teixeira.

    This season, the Angels have the best team OPS in High Leverage situations. And, they have the lowest road ERA in the league. This is why they are 36-19 on the road this season, to date. And, it’s that road record which has helped them get the most wins in baseball (so far).

    Point blank, right now, the Angels are the best team that the Yankees will have faced all season. When you also consider that the Angels have feasted on the Yankees for the last three years prior to this season, there’s no better test for New York now – in terms of telling whether or not this Yankees team can hang with “the big boys.”

    Since the Yankees play the Angels for four games, now, and then another three times (in L.A.) from August 8th through the 10th, within less than two weeks, we’ll know how this Yankees team matches up against them.

    Me? I’m making no predictions other than the fact that this will be a true litmus test as to whether or not this Yankees team has what it takes to beat a really good team. And, I’m very anxious to see the results.

    Manny Leaving Sox?

    Posted by on July 30th, 2008 · Comments (10)

    According to Will Carroll, the Red Sox are going to trade Manny Ramirez, two prospects, and a ton of cash, to acquire Jason Bay and John Grabow.

    Jason Bay is a useful hitter – in a right-handed Hideki Matsui kind of way. But, he’s no Manny Ramirez. Grabow? Just another average LOOGY.

    As a Yankees fan, you have to be happy to see Ramirez leaving both Boston and the league…right?

    Meet Pudge Rodriguez

    Posted by on July 30th, 2008 · Comments (9)

    As you may know, according to his book “Juiced,” Jose Canseco claims that he introduced Ivan Rodriguez to PED usage – back when Canseco was traded to the Texas Rangers (where Ivan became his teammate).

    So, let’s take a look at the newest Yankee, Ivan Rodriguez, in terms of his Offensive Winning Percentage – before he met Jose Canseco, after he met Jose Canseco, and after MLB came up with a PED policy that included suspensions.

    In case you’re not aware, a player’s Offensive Winning Percentage equals the percentage of games a team would win with nine of that player in its lineup, given average pitching and defense. (The formula is the square of Runs Created per 27 Outs, divided by the sum of the square of Runs Created per 27 Outs and the square of the league average of runs per game.)

    Ivan’s Offensive Winning Percentage, before Jose Canseco supposedly introduced him to PEDs: .366 (in 742 PA) from 1991 to 1992 (at which time Rodriguez reportedly weighed 165 pounds).

    Ivan’s Offensive Winning Percentage, after Jose Canseco supposedly introduced him to PEDs: .560 (in 6,473 PA) from 1993 to 2004 (at which time Rodriguez reportedly weighed 215 pounds).

    Ivan’s Offensive Winning Percentage, after after MLB came up with a PED policy that included suspensions: .428 (in 1,948 PA) from 2005 to today (at which time Rodriguez reportedly weighs 187 pounds).

    Interesting, huh? Pudge Rodriguez was a “losing” hitter, in terms of his Offensive Winning Percentage, before he met Canseco. After Jose Canseco supposedly showed him how to use PEDs, Pudge Rodriguez became a “winning” hitter. And, once MLB had a PED policy with teeth, Pudge Rodriguez became a “losing” hitter again. So, draw your own conclusions from all of this…

    But, all of that is in the past, right? This season, to date, Ivan Rodriguez has an Offensive Winning Percentage of .463 (in 328 PA). Yes, that’s still a loser. But, it’s a lot better than the Offensive Winning Percentage of .230 – yes, two-thirty – that Jose Molina has fashioned for the Yankees so far this year. And, that’s why the Yankees are happy to replace Molina with Rodriguez – not because Pudge is a good hitter…more so, because, Molina is a terrible hitter.

    How about defense? We know that Jose Molina is a very good defensive catcher. How about Pudge? Is it all rep, or, is he really that good behind the dish?

    Well, in The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2008, Tom Tango looked at 167 catchers who were behind the plate for at least 15,000 batters since 1957 – and figured out who were the best, relatively speaking, in terms of defense. And, for guys who caught in nine seasons or more, Pudge Rodriguez was the best – followed by Rick Dempsey, Jim Sundberg, Gary Carter, Johnny Bench, Bob Boone, Brad Ausmus, Lance Parrish, and Thurman Munson.

    However, Tom Tango noted that Pudge Rodriguez got most of his “points” for controlling the running game – and was not great in the preventing wild pitches or passed balls department. (Rodriguez’ issue with blocking pitches has also been noted in a study by Dan Turkenkopf done earlier this year.)

    So, it’s not as if Ivan Rodriguez is a great defensive catcher in terms of receiving the ball – he’s only great in terms of throwing it.

    This all said…I would recommend that the Yankees, and their fans, expect “this” from Pudge over the next two months (while he’s in New York): Twice as much offense as Molina provided – but not great production – and about the same value as Molina in terms of throwing out runners (but not as much value as Molina in terms of blocking pitches).

    Kyle Farnsworth Traded For Ivan Rodriguez

    Posted by on July 30th, 2008 · Comments (13)

    Via the AP -

    The Detroit Tigers have traded veteran catcher Ivan Rodriguez to the New York Yankees for hard-throwing reliever Kyle Farnsworth.

    Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star in the option year of a $50 million deal he signed with the Tigers in Feb. 2004, will step into the hole in the Yankees’ lineup created by Jorge Posada’s shoulder injury.

    Posada had arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder Wednesday. The rehab time is about six months.

    The 36-year-old Rodriguez, who has won the Gold Glove award 13 times, was hitting .295 with five homers in 82 games this season.

    This tells me that the Yankees are concerned about their lack of offense. Granted, Pudge has not been a good offensive player since he stopped using, er, I mean since he lost weight. But, he’s still a better hitter than Jose Molina.

    This is an interesting call by Cashman. The pitchers seem as if they like throwing to Molina. And, we know that Rasner likes throwing to Moeller. And, who replaces Farnsworth now? Does this mean that Brian Bruney is coming back?

    It will be interesting to hear what all sides have to say on this one in the coming hours.

    July 30th vs. The Orioles

    Posted by on July 30th, 2008 · Comments (6)

    Ah, a laugher…always good for the soul.

    Just a side note…Kay, Flaherty, and O’Neill (in the YES booth) were convinced that Edwar Ramirez went after Kevin Millar on purpose. Hey, I’m all for moving this dolt off the plate – in fact, the Yankees are five years too late in that department. But, there’s a way to do it…and perhaps a better time too.

    With the Angels coming to town, Edwar Ramirez cannot afford to get himself suspended…now.

    Stupid move.

    Commercializing The Stadium Experience

    Posted by on July 30th, 2008 · Comments (3)

    Via Tyler Kepner -

    The Yankees are not selling the naming rights to their new stadium, but they have found a way to sell plays on the field. Since the All-Star break, every time a Yankees pitcher records a strikeout, the P.C. Richard whistle plays over the loudspeakers as part of a sponsorship deal.

    I have to confess…last night was the first time that I picked up on this…when Jose Veras whiffed Adam Jones and Nick Markakis, back-to-back, in the 8th inning. My first reaction was “I’m not really hearing this, am I?” It just seemed so….tacky.

    Then again, is it any different from Mel Allen calling homeruns a “Ballantine blast!,” or, Bill White telling a player “This Bud’s for you!” or John Sterling plugging Benihana during a Hideki Matsui At-Bat? Sure, those things are during a Yankees broadcast…and not heard at the Stadium.

    However, what happens at the Stadium is part of the broadcast…and it seems like it’s more about the broadcast these days than about those who get to attend a game at the Stadium…as far as the Yankees are concerned.

    So, we might as well get used to stuff like this…in this new Yankeeland of ours…

    Love Mo, But, He’s No Grove

    Posted by on July 30th, 2008 · Comments (3)

    The Immaculate Inning suggests that Mariano Rivera is now the “Greatest Pitcher of All Time.”

    This got me thinking. So, I went to the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia and asked it to give me all pitchers, since 1900, who have 1,000+ career IP and 100+ runs saved above average (RSAA). Once I had that list, I decided to sort them by RSAA per IP. Here’s the top twenty-five – including games pitched yesterday:

    PITCHER		IP	RSAA	RSAA/IP
    Mariano Rivera	1000.3	251	.251
    Pedro Martinez	2718.3	500	.184
    Lefty Grove	3940.0	668	.170
    Brandon Webb	1235.0	196	.159
    Roger Clemens	4916.6	732	.149
    Johan Santana	1456.3	209	.144
    Dan Quisenberry	1043.3	148	.142
    Randy Johnson	3967.3	521	.131
    Roy Oswalt	1534.6	198	.129
    Carlos Zambrano	1335.0	169	.127
    Hoyt Wilhelm	2253.0	282	.125
    John Franco	1245.6	149	.120
    Bruce Sutter	1042.3	123	.118
    Roy Halladay	1729.0	204	.118
    Roberto Hernandez	1071.3	126	.118
    Greg Maddux	4948.6	554	.112
    Lee Smith		1289.3	143	.111
    Harry Brecheen	1905.3	210	.110
    Tim Hudson	2017.3	222	.110
    John Hiller	1242.0	136	.110
    Walter Johnson	5914.6	643	.109
    Joe Wood		1437.3	154	.107
    Mel Parnell	1752.0	187	.107
    Tommy Bridges	2826.6	301	.106
    Curt Schilling	3261.0	346	.106

    Now, that’s an interesting list, no? Makes for some interesting debate…

    If you had to pick one pitcher, between Rivera, Martinez and Grove, for your team, who do you pick? Rivera for his one-inning dominance? Martinez for his one-season supremacy potential? Or, Grove for being the horse that he was?

    And, note Brandon Webb’s placement. He’s pretty good, huh?

    How about Dan Quisenberry finishing higher than Randy Johnson? Roberto Hernandez higher than Greg Maddux? John Hiller hugher than Walter Johnson? When you see that…it makes you ponder if being a relief pitcher is an easier way to excel – in terms of run prevention – than being a starter.

    So, I dunno…

    Yes, hands-down, Mariano Rivera is the greatest relief pitcher of all-time. But, it terms of being the greatest pitcher, period, of all-time…I think you have to go with Lefty Grove…all things considered.

    Johnny Damon Nails It

    Posted by on July 30th, 2008 · Comments (2)

    A-Rod, Damon, Rasner and Girardi talk about the Yankees tough loss last night. The video via SNY.tv:

    Johnny Damon makes an excellent point. The Yankees offense does need to start showing up earlier in these games – and allowing the Yankees pitchers to have some room to work. Otherwise, the whole nut falls on New York’s pitchers to win the game – with little margin for error. And, that doesn’t work for guys like Ponson and Rasner…and sometimes Mussina.

    And, with the way the Yankees rotation is set-up now…with Ponson, Mussina and Rasner all lined-up in a row…the potential for more three-game losing streaks is there…unless the bats start scoring more runs during the first five innings of a game.

    Kennedy Tries Not To Think

    Posted by on July 30th, 2008 · Comments (4)

    Via the Syracuse Post-Standard:

    Which means [Ian] Kennedy, a 23-year-old right-hander, has to work extra hard to keep his focus on matters like Tuesday night’s game against the Syracuse Chiefs at Alliance Bank Stadium and not on his immediate future with the Bronx Bombers.

    “I really don’t watch any ESPN,” Kennedy said. “I think you learn that as you play the game. You don’t want to watch any more baseball.”

    Kennedy began the 2008 season on New York’s Opening Day roster. He and fellow phenom Philip Hughes were penciled in as the Yankees’ pitching future and present.

    Things didn’t go as planned. Kennedy struggled. In nine games early this season, he went 0-3 with a 7.41 ERA.

    “Being with the Yankees is like a dream come true,” Kennedy said. “It was nice to start there. It would’ve been a lot better to start and do well. I’m just trying to make my way back, but also trying to keep my mind right and trying to stay in this moment in time. If I end up playing for them this year and helping in the playoffs, that’s great and that’s my goal.”

    If Kennedy keeps pitching as he did Tuesday, he should reach that goal. If, that is, he keeps his attention on the here and now and not the goal of returning to New York.

    “I think you get in trouble when you start thinking about that stuff,” Kennedy said. “You really can’t control it. All I can really do is try to do well here and try my best to try to get better every day. As soon as I start thinking outside and thinking about the big-league team that’s when I start getting my wheels turning.”

    …I really don’t watch any ESPN. I think you learn that as you play the game. You don’t want to watch any more baseball…

    …I’m just trying to make my way back, but also trying to keep my mind right and trying to stay in this moment in time…

    …As soon as I start thinking outside and thinking about the big-league team that’s when I start getting my wheels turning…

    Sounds like the kind of stuff that Randy Keisler would have said back in August of 2001…

    July 29th vs. The Orioles

    Posted by on July 29th, 2008 · Comments (6)

    I’m going to be polite, for now, and just say one thing about this game:

    Click here to hear it.

    (I’ll probably have more to say tomorrow, after I cool off.)

    Update, 7/30/08. 9:25 am ET: More thoughts on this game…

    Rasner only gave up 2 runs in the first six innings. I’ll take six innings and two runs from my number four guy in the rotation every time. Sure, he lost it in the seventh, but, the pen should be able to help him out there. Marte? Hey, I warned you – way back in March. For the last two days, Mad Dog Russo on WFAN has been going on, and on, about how the Yankees ripped-off the Pirates…getting Marte “the best lefty specialist-slash-closer in baseball.” At the least, maybe this will now shut up Russo for a day on that insane rant. Rivera? Hey, that look on his face when he allowed that homer just about says it all.

    Switching gears…is it just me, or, is George Sherrill the John Wockenfuss of pitchers? His pitching delivery is just as funky as Wockenfuss’ batting stance.

    To big thumbs up to Peter Abraham for summing up the state of the Yankees with this one:

    Get this, the Yankees are 4-10 at home against the Orioles, Indians, Tigers and Reds.

    Those teams are 74-124 (.374) against everybody else on the road. If the Yankees don’t make the playoffs, it’ll be because they didn’t take care of business at the Stadium.

    The Yankees just cannot afford to keep losing these games – with just two months left to the season. Yes, it was great to see them try and fight their way back in this one – and I give them credit for that. But, this loss was a killer. Even the G.M. is feeling it. Via the Bergen Record:

    Brian Cashman exited the elevator door into the lobby of Yankee Stadium, frustration etched in his face and obvious in his words.

    “I hate this game,” sighed the team’s general manager, who just minutes before was bouncing the back of his head off the compartment wall.

    I feel you on that one Cash.

    Yankee Stadium: Baseball’s Cathedral [DVD]

    Posted by on July 29th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    Finally, I had a chance to check out the new “Yankee Stadium: Baseball’s Cathedral” DVD.

    It’s pretty good. Runs just a shade under two hours. And, if you’re a Yankees fan, you’ll get goose bumps and/or a lump in your throat at different times watching it. I know that I did. Further, if you’re like me, parts of it will even invoke you into doing an occasional fist pump.

    The “bonus features” were so-so. But, that’s not why you’ll want to watch this one.

    If you’re interested in having something that captures what the old and current Yankee Stadium is/was all about, that’s why you’ll want to own a copy of “Yankee Stadium: Baseball’s Cathedral.”

    You can get it via Amazon for less than twenty bucks. At that price, it’s a bargain.

    Having now watched it, I feel comfortable recommending it.

    Hughes & Pavano Are Dogs

    Posted by on July 29th, 2008 · Comments (3)

    Well, at least for a day, that is…

    Via the Charleston Post and Courier:

    New York Yankees pitchers Phil Hughes and Carl Pavano are scheduled to be Charleston RiverDogs at least for a day when they come to town for a rehabiliation assignment.

    Both are scheduled to pitch in today’s 7 p.m. game against the Asheville Tourists at Riley Park. How many innings either will go is unknown.

    It is the first time since the Yankees became affiliated with the RiverDogs in 2005 that New York has sent players to Charleston for a rehab assignment. Normally, the team has opted to send players to nearby affiliates Trenton or Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The other option has been to advanced Class A Tampa, where the Yankees keep one of their bases of operation.

    They were originally slated to make appearances in Tampa with the Gulf Coast League Yankees on Monday and today, but weather was bad enough to wash out both dates.

    For those interested in tracking this event live, see this via the RiverDogs site:

    All RiverDogs games can be heard live or on archive via the Internet thanks to MiLB.com Gameday Audio. To listen, you must first register for a FREE account with MiLB.com. Once logged in, simply select the RiverDogs game for the day and click on the “WTMZ” link to open the stream.

    Anyone know the odds on one, or both, of these two re-injuring themselves this evening? It must be pretty high, no?

    July 2008 Survey Question #8

    Posted by on July 29th, 2008 · Comments (4)

    Please consider taking the following poll:

    {democracy:19}

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

    Baby Bombers Starting To Draw

    Posted by on July 29th, 2008 · Comments (2)

    Via the Staten Island Advance -

    Back in the bad old days in St. George, when nobody went to the games but everybody had a theory to explain why the hometown Yankees didn’t draw crowds like the Brooklyn Cyclones just across the bridge, a guy in Rosebank or New Springville could get home from work, decide on a whim to round up the kids and head down to the ballgame, and still have his choice of where to sit.

    Now Rogers and team president Joe Ricciutti have taken all the whim out of the experience.

    The spoilsports.

    A crowd of 7,171 watched the Cyclones out-homer the hometown Yankees last night, the 12th sellout in 20 dates this season; the kind of numbers that once seemed like a pipe dream for a franchise that went five seasons without selling out a single game.

    “We were giving ourselves high fives when we had five of ‘em last year,” Ricciutti said.

    That’s a far cry from the summer of 2003, when Ricciutti and Rogers would look out at a half-empty ballpark, and one or the other would wonder out loud:

    “Where is everybody?”

    There are still a few of us contrarians, of course, who cut our minor-league baseball teeth in dilapidated old ballparks in Geneva, Batavia and Oneonta, N.Y., Roanoke, Va., and Hagerstown, Md. — places so quiet on a weekday night that the shortstop could hear a conversation in the last row of the grandstand — who think the experience ought to be reserved for the hardy and the foolhardy, and any fool ought to be able to walk up to the box office 10 minutes before first pitch, and have his choice of seats.

    But thanks to Ricciutti, Rodgers, and their cadre of relentlessly agreeable helpers, those days are long gone.

    At this rate, the Ballpark’s going to turn into one of those places Yogi Berra thinks nobody goes anymore, because it’s too crowded.

    Well, it took ten years, but, it’s good to see the community starting to back the team. It was vexing to see a team average 4,000 fans a game in a ballpark that holds 7,000 – especially when the Brooklyn Cyclones were jamming their park every game.

    With the cost of going to a Yankees game in the Bronx being what it is…people should consider going to a Staten Island Yankees game instead. Sure, it’s not 55,000 people, Joba, Mo, and A-Rod…but, it’s professional baseball, close up, affordable, and fun.

    Melancon Moving Up?

    Posted by on July 28th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    Just about three weeks ago, Mark Newman, the Yankees SVP of Baseball Ops, said that the team’s plan was to keep Mark Melancon in Double-A this season. Via Mike Ashmore’s Thunder Thoughts on July 10th:

    Newman did not necessarily commit to keeping Mark Melancon in Trenton all season.

    “Yes (the plan is to keep him in Trenton all season), but plans are changeable. Whoever’s the next Joba, I’m not sure. But he certainly has ability, and he’s pitched extraordinarily well here. He’s still essentially in a rehab season. This is his first competition in professional baseball, and he’s doing it coming off Tommy John surgery. We didn’t expect him to do this well.”

    But, today, Mike Ashmore is reporting that Melancon has been called up to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

    Could the Yankees be moving him along to try and get him on the big league team before September 1st? Hey, it’s possible.

    July 28th vs. The Orioles

    Posted by on July 28th, 2008 · Comments (4)

    Forget about the Yankees pitching performance, this evening, for a moment. Actually, forget about it completely. I could get carpal tunnel if I attempted to write about how bad the Yankees pitchers were tonight – as it would require quite a bit of typing.

    More importantly, let’s focus on the Yankees offense.

    Throw out every run that New York scored today. They were all “garbage time” runs. For the first six innings of this game, the Yankees had no stick – whatsoever.

    Now, go back to the game before this one. In that contest, the Yankees only scored two runs.

    Granted, two games before this one, the Yankees scored ten runs. However, most of that came from beating up Justin Masterson and Craig Hansen – two pitchers of limited major league experience and success.

    And, in the game before that ten-run game, the Yankees only scored one run – and that came on a cheap, gift, hit.

    So, when you boil it down, the Yankees offense has not been impressive, on the whole, in their last four games.

    Sure, the Yankees bats did do well in those three games against the Twins – which came before this four game spell. However, in the eight games before those three games against the Twins, the Yankees bats also (somewhat) struggled to score runs.

    Cano, Jeter and A-Rod have been swinging well in the last four weeks (or so). And, Damon has been acceptable – when he’s played this month. But, Abreu has been just O.K. (overall) and Jason Giambi has killed the Yankees in his last 21 games. Throw in the good-field, no-hit, guys like Jose Molina and Melky Cabrera and it’s not a pretty picture…as many days the Yanks line-up is half-dead.

    If I have to peg two guys in all of this, it would be Abreu and Giambi. For the most part, Abreu bats third and Giambi bats fifth. You expect a lot of production from those two slots in the line-up…and it’s not happening, lately, for the Yankees. And, until it does, expect the Yankees to continue to have issues scoring runs against decent to very good pitching.

    Posada To Undergo Surgery

    Posted by on July 28th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    Via The Sports Network (with thanks to Lee Sinins for a heads-up on this) -

    New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada will undergo season-ending surgery on his right shoulder.

    Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he met Monday with Posada, who was in “100 percent agreement” to the surgery. Cashman said Dr. David Altchek will handle the procedure. A specific date for the surgery hasn’t been set.

    Earlier, Posada wanted to see if he could continue playing this season as a first baseman or designated hitter because the injury to his right labrum didn’t affect his swing.

    Therefore, the Yankees waited to decide on surgery for Posada until they had another bat in the lineup. On Saturday, they acquired outfielder Xavier Nady and pitcher Damaso Marte from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    “The reason we were going through the process is we didn’t have someone to slide right in there as a hitter and now we do with Xavier Nady,” Cashman said. “It gives us the opportunity to move forward with Jorge.”

    A five-time All-Star, Posada is expected to need about six months to recover from surgery.

    “He was willing to do what we wanted and there was a need,” Cashman said. “He was delaying the surgery for that need,” Cashman said.

    Now that we have a hitter, I think this was predictable.”

    I’m a little surprised that Jorge is going with David Altchek and not James Andrews – considering the success that the latter had with Drew Brees. But, to each his own.

    Best of luck ‘Sado. See ya next year.

    The Giambi Cookie

    Posted by on July 28th, 2008 · Comments (2)

    Jason Giambi’s 2008, to date, in three slices:

    His first 26 games: 104 PA, BA/OBP/SLG line: .150/.317/.375
    His next 43 games: 171 PA, BA/OBP/SLG line: .336/.456/.657
    His last 20 games: 75 PA, BA/OBP/SLG line: .190/.360/.397

    Anyone else anxiously awaiting Jason’s next “on” cycle? Any time Big G…any time at all would be fine.

    July 2008 Survey Question #7

    Posted by on July 28th, 2008 · Comments (5)

    Please consider taking the following poll on a trade idea that was 100% completely fabricated here and not based on any reports of actual information:

    {democracy:18}

    Jarrod Saltalamacchia was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 1st round of the 2003 amateur draft – as the 36th overall pick. Click here to see his minor league stats.

    Phil Hughes was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 1st round of the 2004 amateur draft – as the 23rd overall pick. Click here to see his minor league stats.

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

    Yanks Flock To Cooperstown For Goose

    Posted by on July 28th, 2008 · Comments (6)

    The Yankees did a good job of showing up at Cooperstown for Rich Gossage yesterday.

    Via Bill Madden -

    Among the Yankee alumni on hand: Graig Nettles, Ron Guidry, Pat Kelly, Gene Michael, Jim Beattie, Roy White and Mickey Rivers. White, who has been fired three times as a Yankee coach, said he will not be coming to Old-Timers’ Day Saturday, even though it is an easy commute from his home in Toms River, N.J. “I’ve just had enough,” he said of his Yankee disses.

    According to the Times Union, Sparky Lyle and David Cone were there too. (Yanks GM Brian Cashman, COO Lonn Trost and senior VP Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal also made the trip.)

    Betcha when Mariano and Jeter get their day at Cooperstown there will be lots of former teammates there as well. But, I’m not sure that you’ll see the same when A-Rod gets in.

    It’s too bad that Roy White feels the way that he does about the Yankees. It’s costing him money – for sure. I have to imagine that the Yankees would be willing to have him “host” some games in luxury boxes. He’s done it in the past – ditto guys like Oscar Gamble and Jim Leyritz. Hey, it’s easy money to sit there for three hours, sign autographs, and tell Yankees stories.

    White’s place in Yankees history is right up there with guys like Mattingly and Murcer. From 1968 through 1976, White was one of the Yankees best players. In a way, he was the Bernie Williams of his time. (Bernie, are you paying attention to where White’s relationship with the Yankees is now?)

    A-Rod: My Dinner With Papi

    Posted by on July 28th, 2008 · Comments (6)

    Via George King -

    Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz shared a late meal Saturday night on the eve of Rodriguez’s 33rd birthday at JER-NE restaurant and were joined by somebody Rodriguez predicts will develop into a star.

    Sitting with the perennial All Stars was Yonder Alonso, a Coral Gables, Fla., resident, former Miami University star and the seventh pick (by the Reds) in last month’s draft who Rodriguez predicts will sign a $7 million contract soon.

    “Manny (Ramirez) and (Ortiz) are [my] close friends,” Rodriguez said when asked if he often socializes with opponents before the Yanks’ 9-2 loss to the Red Sox last night.

    Alonso is more than a friend to Rodriguez, a fellow Coral Gables resident.

    “He hits at my house every night, still does,” Rodriguez said of left-handed hitting first baseman Rodriguez compared with a young Jason Giambi . “He was my shadow for four months during the winter.”

    Somehow, thirty years ago, I don’t think you would have found Thurman Munson and Carlton Fisk breaking bread together during a Yanks-Sox series. Nor would you have found Rick Burleson and Lou Piniella buying each other a round of drinks.

    Actually, this change may just be a recent thing – say, since around 2003. (Remember Manny and Enrique Wilson being caught partying together?) I don’t think you would have found many Yankees of the late ’90′s…like Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez, Joe Girardi, Chad Curtis, Scott Brosius, or Jorge Posada…hanging out with Mo Vaughn or John Valentin the evening after (or before) a game with the Red Sox.

    July 27th @ The Red Sox

    Posted by on July 28th, 2008 · Comments (2)

    O.K., yes, in this game, we saw “Pitcher Piñata Ponson” do what he does best on a baseball field – allow base-hits.

    Still, the Yankees had a chance to make it a game…top of the fifth inning…down by five…bases loaded, no outs…and their meaty part of their line-up due up: A-Rod, Nady and Cano. But, none of those three could reach base safely or plate any runs via an out…and then this game was basically over.

    So, the Red Sox kicked the Yankees fanny in this one – just as the New York spanked Boston on their rear end in the game before this one. An eye-for-an-eye. Factor in that Friday’s game was sort of a tie…with the Yankees getting a lucky run to win it…and I would say that this series was a push. Neither team showing that it was better than the other. Makes sense…they have split 12 games, so far, this season.

    These two teams will meet again in a month – on August 26th. Should be fun.

    Sir Sidney Blutarsky Goes “Boom!”

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

    See? I told you it was just a matter of time.

    Seattle Mariners interim G.M. Lee Pelekoudas can go to bed tonight feeling good – as the price for Jarrod Washburn just went up this evening…thanks to Sidney “Hit Me!” Ponson.

    Marte & Nady’s Numbers

    Posted by on July 27th, 2008 · Comments (5)

    I have this thing about uniform numbers. Maybe someday I’ll go into the details. But, for now, let’s just say that I was wondering about what numbers Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady were going to wear as Yankees.

    I knew that Marte wore number 43 with the Pirates and White Sox. But, Darrell Rasner has that one on the Yankees. And, I knew that Nady wore number 22 with the Padres, Mets, and Pirates. And, LaTroy Hawkins was wearing that one for New York.

    So, I was surprised that Nady took number 29 with the Yankees – considering that Hawkins was let go the day that Nady arrived. Marte? When I saw him wearing number 34, I thought “O.K., he switched the digits, makes sense” and that was it.

    Funny, I never thought about the “Phil Hughes” thing with number 34 until I noticed that Peter Abraham brought it up today. (I suppose it’s an “out of sight, out of mind” thing for me on Hughes.)

    Looking into it further, I found this from Tyler Kepner:

    The new left-handed reliever Dámaso Marte was issued No. 34, with the blessing of the injured pitcher Phil Hughes, who had no luck with the number early this season. Xavier Nady took No. 29, last worn by pitcher Kei Igawa, who was dropped from the 40-man roster.

    Funny, six months ago, Hughes went out of his way to get number 34 (switching from number 65). As Phil wrote about it:

    3+4=7, my Mom’s favorite number, and 34 was the number of my favorite pitcher growing up, Nolan Ryan

    I feel bad for all those who were so quick to jump on the “Phil Franchise” bandwagon and who went out to buy a Yankees shirt with a “65″ and/or “34″ on it. Looks they may have to go out and get another “Phil Hughes” shirt. Betcha Hughes goes for number 45 now…like I thought that he would six months ago (when he ditched “65″).

    Then again, that may just set up Hughes for more comparisons to Carl Pavano (who has “45″ now) the next time Phil ends up on the disabled list again.

    Nady? Something tells me that “29″ is only a placeholder for him – and that “22″ is coming soon. Since he wore it everywhere he’s been, why not do it with the Yankees too?

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