• Catching Up With One Of The Yanks Worst

    Posted by on May 31st, 2009 · Comments (0)

    Remember Jeff Johnson? He’s now a pitching coach for the Pirates (Low) A-Ball team. I just saw this quote from him in the Charleston Daily Mail:

    Kyle McPherson epitomizes the ups and downs of minor league baseball.

    Except for a pair of two-out mistakes in a six-inning performance, McPherson was solid if not spectacular on the mound Sunday afternoon in the West Virginia Power’s 11-9 South Atlantic League victory over the visiting Lake County (Ohio) Captains.

    McPherson allowed six runs on seven hits, including three-run home runs by Michael Valadez and John Allman in the second and sixth innings, respectively.

    McPherson had allowed only one home run in his previous nine appearances.

    “It’s a good learning experience for all of our guys,” said Power pitching coach Jeff Johnson, 42, a former Major League pitcher who posted an 8-16 record and 6.52 earned run average in three seasons with the New York Yankees. “Just because we have two outs, the inning isn’t over. We have to finish innings.

    “The first three-run homer, (Valadez) did his job. The guy hadn’t hit a ball to right field all year long against us. Then, he hits one up in the wind in right-center and gets it out. I don’t worry about that too much.

    “I thought in the sixth, (McPherson) got a little tired. I was trying to let him finish the inning since he had two outs. But his pitches got elevated pretty badly in the sixth. It ended up costing him.”

    Wade Taylor – Johnson’s rotation-mate back in the day – was a scout with the Yankees until 2005. I wonder where he is today?

    All of the pitchers in Yankees history with at least 30 starts made for the team, Johnson has the worst ERA in the bunch: 6.52 – followed by Ed Whiston (5.38), Jeff Weaver (5.35) and Andy Hawkins (5.21).

    Gotta stop here…too close to bed-time…and I don’t want to have nightmares.

    Week 8 – 2009

    Posted by on May 31st, 2009 · Comments (1)

    What stands out the most in my mind, this past week, is that the Yankees went 4-2, overall, with their two losses coming in games started by Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes. And, in both those losses, the young Yankees starter failed to pitch more than five innings -with Chamberlain going four innings (allowing three runs) and Hughes going five innings (allowing four runs).

    Then again, to Hughes’ credit, Phil did offset his bad game this week with a stellar outing last Monday.

    With Andy Pettitte’s back acting up, and the Yankees bullpen performing as badly as it is, if Hughes and Chamberlain are going to pull “five and fly” numbers, more often than not, that puts a lot of pressure on CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett to pitch very deep into their games – each time out. And, I’m not sure this all adds up to be a long-term recipe for success this season in Yankeeland.

    When your bullpen is populated with three or four guys who cannot be trusted, you cannot have 40-60% of your starting rotation not pitching deep into games.

    Well, it’s not that it’s against the law, or anything…but…

    …it just means that you’re counting on two starting pitchers to carry the pitching staff. And, everyone knows what happens when you put too many eggs into one or two baskets…eventually, you’re going to end up with a bunch of broken eggs…and perhaps a busted basket too.

    May 31st @ The Indians

    Posted by on May 31st, 2009 · Comments (7)

    For quite a while, it looked like the Yankees were going to lose this one because they couldn’t touch Carl Pavano. And, for a Yankees fan, that’s an ugly turn of events.

    I’m not 100% sure where that places on the “turn of ugly events” scale? It’s not as bad as taking a shower in prison, and, for a brief moment, forgetting where you are and bending over to pick up a bar of soap off the floor. And, perhaps it’s not as bad as being forced to take your one-eyebrowed cousin with bad B.O. to your high school prom. But, it’s still a major harshing of your mellow…again, if you’re a Yankees fan.

    However, thanks to Jeter, Damon, Teixeira and a gaggle of Tribe relievers, the Yankees were able to knot the score, for the moment, in the eighth inning, and take the “W” away from the American Idle.

    Too bad the Yankees could not close the deal on this one.

    I know that many are quick to blame Gardner, Robertson, Coke and/or perhaps, to an extent, Hughes for this one. But, to me, those guys are all green and should not be counted on to do the heavy lifting in a game like this one.

    I have to go back to that eighth inning – right after Teixeira got that clutch double to tie the game. After that hit, the Yankees had a runner on second (Tex) representing the tie-breaking run – with their four and five hitters due up, A-Rod and Cano, and just one out. But, the two colossuses of clutch could not get the job done against the immortal Matt Herges…and that left the game tied until the ninth when it all came crashing down.

    Once Alex and Robbie let the air out of the balloon in that spot…I just knew that this one was going to be dicey…and could go either way…especially with “Cashman’s Bullpen of Doom” at the ready. It was just a matter of time…

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 5/31/09

    Posted by on May 31st, 2009 · Comments (11)

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    Catching Up With Montero & Romine In Tampa

    Posted by on May 31st, 2009 · Comments (0)

    Tim Bontemps offers some insight on the Yankees Tampa Catching Dandy Duo – Jesus Montero and Austin Romine:

    “I like those two kids,” a scout said. “Those were two of my favorite kids last year in [Low-A] Charleston.”

    Both players have excelled during their brief professional careers. Montero hit .326 with 17 homers and 87 RBIs for Charleston last season, and has carried that level of success over to High-A Tampa this year, where he is hitting .341 with seven homers and 34 RBIs through Friday’s games.

    “Montero can really swing the bat,” the scout said. “He is one of the better young hitters I’ve seen in a long time. I don’t know if he’ll catch, but his bat will get him to the big leagues.”

    “I think that kid has a chance to do [in the majors] what he’s doing now — hit for average and power. He hit a ball last year in Charleston that’s still up there.”

    Already 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, there have been questions about whether Montero, a 19-year-old from Venezuela, will be able to stay behind the plate long-term. But Yankees VP of Player Development Mark Newman praised Montero for his recent improvement behind the plate.

    “We feel better about [his defense] every month,” Newman said. “He keeps getting better every month. He’s throwing better. . . . We’re very happy with his defensive progress, and I mean very. He’s really improved.”

    Romine, whose father, Kevin, was an outfielder for the Red Sox from 1985-91 and brother Andrew is a shortstop in the Angels system, also has had success at the plate. After hitting .300 with 10 homers and 49 RBIs last year with Charleston, Romine, 20, is hitting .279 with four homers and 21 RBIs with Tampa this season.

    After seeing Romine last year, the scout compared him with a familiar face to Yankees fans.

    “I wrote in my report that Romine reminded me of [Jason] Varitek,” the scout said. “He’s a big, strong guy, can catch and throw, has some power. Romine, to me, was further advanced behind the plate. He can catch and throw, and his bat could get him there, too.”

    Me? I see Jesus Montero being a right-handed Carlos Delgado (who was also a catcher, in the minors and briefly in the bigs). The question is: If he ends up as a first baseman or D.H., where is he going to play in New York with A-Rod and Tex locked up for years to come? And, we still have a way to go with Austin Romine. Maybe he’s the next Bill Freehan? Or, maybe he’s the next Frank Fernandez? It’s still way too earlier to tell with him…let’s see how he does at Double-A when he gets there.

    Terminator Salvation

    Posted by on May 31st, 2009 · Comments (3)

    I saw Terminator Salvation yesterday. As some many recall, I’m a pretty big fan of the “Terminator” franchise/genre – going back to 1984. So, I was looking forward to this one. And, after seeing the “HBO First Look” episode on it, which looked great, I was truly geeked up.

    On the bright side, I can share that the effects in this one were top notch. They got every dollars worth out of their big budget. Visually, this was a spectacular movie – for me – and one that you should experience on a big screen with surround-sound. All the sets/scenery, special effects, explosions, etc., were 100% believable – and not once do you find youself thinking “Wow, that’s some bad CGI….”

    However, on the whole, this is not a great movie. It’s funny that Christian Bale gets big billing for this one – because you hardly see him in the first half of the movie and it’s all about Sam Worthington and Anton Yelchin. Don’t get me wrong – the latter two did a very good job. But, again, the way the movie was pitched, it’s the normal expectation to think this one was going to be about “John Connor” with Bale carrying the movie. And, it wasn’t until the second half – and the climax of the film – where it was mostly Bale.

    Also, the very, very, end of the movie was as predictable as the ending of an episode of the Brady Bunch.

    Just to be clear – I’m glad that I went to see it in the movies. And, if you’re a fan of “Terminator,” I recommend that you do the same. But, just go in with tempered expectations, enjoy the effects, and you should be fine.

    May 30th @ The Indians

    Posted by on May 31st, 2009 · Comments (12)

    Including this one, over his last 5 starts, CC Sabathia has pitched exactly like the “ace” that the Yankees expected him to be when they gave him $161 million for seven years (to play in New York). And, by many, many, reports, Sabathia has been a prince in the clubhouse – a lynchpin in the reported new and improved Yankees team chemistry.

    Yet, when I watch him pitch, I still don’t see him as a “Yankee” – yet. Maybe it’s because he’s an absolute mess in the way he wears his uniform? Maybe it’s because he’s only made 10 starts for the team so far? Maybe it’s because he’s the poster child for Yankees “throw money at a problem” solution method – and it’s hard to love a high-priced mercenary? Maybe it’s a combination of all three? I dunno…

    I’m just hoping this feeling goes away soon…because I really, really, want to like the guy…and I’m not feeling it yet.

    Now, on the other hand, Jose Veras…

    …can someone please tell me why this guy is still on the big league team? He was terrible in his last 21 games for the Yankees last season and he’s still terrible this year. Hey, Cashman, three words for you on this one: “Veras Must Go!”

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 5/30/09

    Posted by on May 30th, 2009 · Comments (2)

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    With Yanks In First, Is The Nightmare About To End?

    Posted by on May 30th, 2009 · Comments (7)

    Earlier today, I mentioned that my Yankees world changed forever back in 2004. Here’s the story behind that.

    I became a Yankees fan back in 1973. And, it was a great time, in the mid-to-late ’70s, to be a Yankees fan. New York was a decent team in 1974 and 1975 – even if they had to play in Shea Stadium. And, we all know how much fun the Yankees were in 1976, 1977 and 1978. If you don’t, just google “Yankees Martin Steinbrenner Munson Reggie Bronx Zoo” and see what you get as a result.

    The 1980′s were an interesting time to be a Yankees fan as well. The team won a lot of games – but really didn’t do anything in October. Yet, those 1980′s Yankees had great players like Dave Winfield, Dave Righetti, Don Mattingly, Ron Guidry, Rickey Henderson, Goose Gossage and Willie Randolph – as well as some colorful/likeable players like Mike Pagliarulo, Tommy John, Rick Cerone, Bob Shirley, Ken Griffey Sr., Ron Davis, Graig Nettles, Phil Niekro, Bobby Meacham and Joe Cowley. Heck, I even had fun rooting for players like Jerry Mumphrey, Lee Guetterman, Claudell Washington, Mike Armstrong, Steve Sax, Dave LaRoche, Dan Pasqua, Charles Hudson, Don Slaught, Rich Bordi and Omar Moreno back in the ’80′s.

    Of course, from 1989 through 1991 was one of the worst times ever to be a Yankees fan. But, that was a brief period and when the 1990′s got started, things began to turnaround for the Yankees. And, by 1993, you could see some good things were about to happen in Yankeeland.

    To be a Yankees fan, from the mid-1990′s through the close of that decade, was a very, very, special time. Four rings in five years – ’nuff said?

    When the 21st century came out of the chute, immediately, it was a mixed bag experience for me, as a Yankees fan. Sure, they lost the 2001 World Series – but, who could ever forget Games 4 and 5 that year in the Bronx. And, I always like to say that the Yankees won the 2001 World Series, three games to four (much like Carlton Fisk likes to claim that the Boston Red Sox won the 1975 World Series, three games to four). And, sure, the Yankees lost the 2003 World Series – one they should have won – but, who could ever forget that Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS against the Red Sox. For a Yankees fan, that game was pure magic and it helped offset the World Series that followed.

    But, then came 2004. And, we all know what happened in the ALCS that season – where the Yankees let the Red Sox rise from the dead and break the Curse of the Bambino. “Nightmare” is not a strong enough word to describe how it felt to be a Yankees fan at that moment. And, for this Yankees fan, the experience of following the franchise has been all downhill since that time.

    Since the 2004 ACLS, the Yankees have gone from being a team that would finish first and play deep into October…into a team that would finish first and get bounced in the ALDS…into a team that would not finish first, win the wildcard, and get bounced in the ALDS…into a team that would not make the playoffs at all…into a team that would finish in third place (last season).

    In fact, when the Yankees gained sole possession of first place last night, it became the first time in the last 972 days that the New York Yankees have owned first place in the A.L. East. That’s a very, very, long time – in Yankeeland.

    Let’s hope this is the sign of good times to come for the Yankees…and where the tide that turned in 2004 begins to shift again…this time, in favor of the Yankees and their fans. Personally, I would love to see what started at the end of 2004 come to an end. And, the sooner, the better.

    The King Of The Bronx Was Almost The King Of Queens…

    Posted by on May 30th, 2009 · Comments (4)

    Cashman working for UPS…well, maybe that explains the love for Kevin “Brown”?

    The story via Mark Hale

    There were multiple options under consideration for Brian Cashman as he prepared to graduate from college. Law school was possible. So was going to work full-time for UPS.

    So was joining the Yankees. And in a couple days, when the calendar hits June, it will mark 20 years since Cashman graduated from Catholic University and joined the Yankees on a permanent basis. Now the GM, he started as an intern in 1986. He worked part-time for the team while in college until 1989, then began his full-time Yankees career as a baseball operations assistant.

    In summing up his two decades as an everyday employee in pinstripes, Cashman doesn’t come to any sweeping conclusion.

    “I don’t look back too much,” he said. “Time flies, so I’m not even aware that it’s 20 years.”

    Twenty years from now, does Cashman still expect or hope to be working in The Bronx?

    “I don’t look 20 years ahead. I don’t even look a year ahead,” he said. “The only thing I look forward to is: We need it soon, I need it soon, a championship. . . . I want a World Series, and I want one this year.”

    Cashman already has won four championships. Of all the losses during the last 20 years, he says the 2001 World Series Game 7 ninth-inning heartbreak to the Diamondbacks is “probably the one that hurts the most.”

    Personally, as bad as I took 2001, losing four in a row during the 2004 ALCS was worse – especially because it was against Boston. My Yankees world, which had existed since 1973, changed forever that day…and it cannot be reversed. (I’ll do a feature on that soon.)

    May 29th @ The Indians

    Posted by on May 29th, 2009 · Comments (7)

    I was a little nervous about this one in the seventh inning. With the Yankees leaving so many on base – going 2 for 12, overall, with RISP – and the score close, it just felt like one of those games where the bullpen was going to blow it before getting the ball to Mo Rivera.

    But, not so!

    Alfredo Aceves did a really nice job bridging the gap between Andy Pettitte’s exit via back stiffness and Sandman time. (Speaking of Pettitte, let’s hope this goes away quick – because he will pitch hurt and that’s not always the best thing for him or the team.)

    The Yankees now own first place in the A.L. East (for the first time since the last day of the 2006 regular season). And, I won’t jinx them by mentioning their magic number.

    Speaking of numbers, how about those Boston Red Sox? They’ve gone 9-10 in their last 19 games, 14-13 in their last 27 games, and 15-15 in their last 30 games. If not for that 10-game winning streak that they had from April 15th through April 26th, they would be in really tough shape right now.

    Then again, you could say the same thing about the Yankees and their 9-game winning streak from May 13th to May 21st.

    Maybe the A.L. East this season will come down to the team who puts together the most winning streaks?

    Focusing On Content Over Comments

    Posted by on May 29th, 2009 · Comments Off

    As of this moment, it will be very rare to see me leave a comment on something which I have posted to this blog. And, I thought it was important to make note of this – since it seems that some of my readers look forward to bantering with me in the comments section here, at times.

    I hinted at this yesterday. And, being able to consider it for another day, I decided that I’m going to try it.

    Why? As I stated yesterday, I think it makes much more sense, and a better blog reading experience, if I used my time to focus on research and writing as opposed to making comments.

    This all said, I do need to stress one thing. If someone, in leaving comments, wants to disagree with something that I have posted, that’s fine – and welcomed. Disagreement debate, and sharing opinions are encouraged here. WasWatching.com aims to provide a safe place for the free expression of those passions and differing views.

    However, those leaving comments here must provide respect to other values, opinions, and ideas even if they strongly disagree with those ideas.

    Further, the Community Standards of this blog clearly state that registered members, leaving comments, are not permitted to harass, bash or “flame” other members. And, such acts will result in a member being barred from leaving comments at WasWatching.com.

    Therefore, anyone makes an attempt at harassing, bashing, or “flaming” me with a comment, or if their comments are made in a disrespectful manner, they will run the risk of being barred from commenting here – regardless of the fact that I am not commenting on a frequent basis (going forward from now).

    Thanks in advance for your help in ensuring that we maintain a friendly online community at WasWatching.com where members feel relaxed and comfortable because we show a considerate and respectful attitude toward fellow members here.

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 5/29/09

    Posted by on May 29th, 2009 · Comments (3)

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    When The Going Gets Tough, Yanks Go In Their Pants?

    Posted by on May 29th, 2009 · Comments (4)

    According to this report over at SOTD, when the Yankees – over the last 5 years prior to this season – face a strong opponent, they have not been able to win as often as they lose. And, if you believe in Pythagorean Winning Percentage, the Yankees have actually under-performed in these situations – posting a W% of .395 compared to a pythW-L% of .454 (in the 38 games where they faced a strong team).

    Now, sure, some will say “When you play a team with a winning percentage of .600 or better, you’re not going to do well.”

    O.K., sure, but…then…

    …explain why the Yankees have a W% of .395 (from 2004 through 2008) in these spots whereas the Angels have a W% of .536, the Red Sox have a W% of .447, the Twins have a W% of .421, the White Sox have a W% of .448? Should not the Yankees, with all their stars, be able to at least play .400 in these situations?

    After all, a team with a winning percentage of .600 is going to lose 40% of the time, anyway, right? How could the Yankees then not be able to crack a W% of 40% in these spots? It will be interesting, at the end of the season, to see how the 2009 Yankees do in this situation.

    SNY New York Baseball Today Video

    Posted by on May 29th, 2009 · Comments (2)

    To watch SNY.tv’s New York Baseball Today, which features a rotating panel of experts, click play below:

    Overall, Swisher Is Costing The Yanks Wins

    Posted by on May 29th, 2009 · Comments (33)
    Name		Pos	WPA 	-WPA	+WPA
    Jose Molina	C	-0.47	-1.20	0.72
    Nick Swisher	OF	-0.46	-3.22	2.75
    Ramiro Pena	3B/SS	-0.43	-1.20	0.77
    Kevin Cash	C	-0.34	-0.47	0.13
    Angel Berroa	3B	-0.24	-0.25	0.01
    Hideki Matsui	DH	-0.19	-3.37	3.18
    Robinson Cano	2B	-0.16	-3.56	3.40
    Fran. Cervelli	C	-0.13	-0.80	0.67
    Xavier Nady	OF	-0.08	-0.48	0.40
    Cody Ransom	3B	-0.02	-0.74	0.72
    Brett Gardner	OF	0.26	-2.01	2.27
    Alex Rodriguez	3B	0.82	-1.26	2.08
    Derek Jeter	SS	0.88	-3.53	4.41
    Mark Teixeira	1B	0.89	-3.83	4.72
    Melky Cabrera	OF	0.92	-2.69	3.61
    Jorge Posada	C	1.34	-1.34	2.68
    Johnny Damon	OF	2.25	-3.19	5.44
    

    The above stats are via FanGraphs.com today.

    Here’s what each of these statistics are:

    WPA (win probability added): WPA is the difference in win expectancy (WE) between the start of the play and the end of the play. That difference is then credited/debited to the batter and the pitcher. Over the course of the season, each players’ WPA for individual plays is added up to get his season total WPA.

    +WPA (win advancement): The amount of positive wins a player contributed to his team, including only the plays where he increased his team’s win expectancy.

    -WPA (loss advancement): The amount of negative wins a player contributed to his team, including only the plays where he decreased his team’s win expectancy.

    In a nutshell, WPA is the net sum of +WPA and -WPA.

    And, these numbers show us that, offensively, so far this season, Johny Damon has helped the Yankees win games, overall, the most of their regular players, and Nick Swisher, offensively, has cost the Yankees some wins, overall, the most of their regular players.

    Something for those to who think Nick Swisher has helped the Yankees this season to think about…

    Yanks Sign Somerset Patriots Pitcher

    Posted by on May 29th, 2009 · Comments (1)

    Via the Atlantic League site –

    The Four-Time Atlantic League Champion Somerset Patriots have announced that right-handed pitcher Paul Bush has been signed by the New York Yankees organization and will report to Triple-A.

    Bush had a 1.62 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 16.2 innings pitched in nine games for Somerset this season before signing with the Yankees, where he is scheduled to report to Scranton later this week.

    Bush has played his entire career in the Atlanta Braves organization, including two seasons at the Triple-A level in Richmond, before joining the Patriots.

    Bush was at the Double-A level last season in Mississippi and had a 3.24 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 16.2 innings in 12 games, all in relief.

    He has a career 22-22 record with a 3.24 ERA and 446 strikeouts in 422 innings pitched in 184 games.

    Bush is the second Patriots player to be signed by a Major League organization this season, with outfielder Noah Hall signing with the Yankees last week and reporting to Double-A.

    By the way, did you know that Brad Halsey, Dan Miceli, Armando Benitez, Shawn Chacon, Wayne Franklin, and Matt DeSalvo are all pitching in the Atlantic League this year? It’s the place where former Yankees pitchers go to….well…you know…

    This Year Another Busted Draft For Cashman?

    Posted by on May 29th, 2009 · Comments (37)

    This year’s baseball draft will start on June 9th. The Yankees first three picks in the draft are the 29th overall pick, the 76th overall pick, and the 135th overall pick – bad selections thanks to all the free agents that New York signed this off-season. (Actually, the Yankees are lucky to have those 29th and 76th picks – because they only have them as a result of not signing their 1st and 3rd picks in last year’s draft.)

    Most feel that this draft pool is not a great one. So, you can look at this in two ways.

    From one angle, you can say “Smart move by the Yanks, giving up all their early picks, because this draft stinks anyway.” Or, from another angle, you can say “Bad move by the Yanks, they didn’t sign two of their first three picks last year and now they have three bad picks in a beat draft this year. This will be two years in a row with no premium talent added to the pipeline.”

    (more…)

    Pepsi May Sponser Them, But Yanks Love Coke

    Posted by on May 29th, 2009 · Comments (3)

    From a feature on Phil Coke via Tyler Kepner

    But there is one fissure in the foundation of the Yankees, who stand a half-game behind Boston in the American League East. It is the bullpen, where two projected setup men, Brian Bruney and Damaso Marte, are out indefinitely with arm injuries. According to General Manager Brian Cashman, the market for trades is slow.

    Only two setup men have been on the active roster all season: the erratic right-hander Jose Veras and a left-hander who was toiling in Class AA a year ago, so far from the radar that Manager Joe Girardi had never seen him pitch.

    He is Phil Coke, who is tied with Veras for the staff lead in appearances, with 21. It is no wonder Coke was chatting before Wednesday’s game with a Texas Rangers reliever, Eddie Guardado, whose nickname is Everyday. Despite Coke’s mixed results — 1-2 with a 4.43 earned run average — Girardi has found him indispensable.

    “He has three quality pitches,” Girardi said. “He’s able to locate his fastball on both sides of the plate, he has an equalizer in his changeup to get right-handers, and he’s got a good slider to get left-handers. Really, what he does is he just pitches. He locates, he changes speeds and he works both sides of the plate.”

    It’s time. The lefty needs a nickname.

    While it would be so easy to go with “The Real Thing,” I’m going with:

    “Pinch-Poke Phil Coke.”

    It just sounds like an ‘ol-time baseball nickname…which the kid deserves.

    Stats Suggest Joba, In Rotation, Not Worth More As Starter

    Posted by on May 28th, 2009 · Comments (34)

    In his big league career, to date, here’s how Joba Chamberlain has allowed batters to produce, as a starting pitcher, with 4, 5 and 6+ days rest between starts:

            Split  G  PA  AB  R HR  BB SO SO/BB   BA  OBP  SLG
           4 Days 11 243 212 29  7  25 53  2.12 .278 .357 .410
           5 Days  7 155 133 11  2  19 52  2.74 .211 .316 .278
          6+ Days  3  78  67  6  1   6 15  2.50 .284 .372 .433

    According to these numbers, Joba the “Starter” is O.K. with normal rest, great with an extra day’s rest, and so-so with too much rest.

    This time, last year, regarding the best way to use Chamberlain, I wrote:

    So, it’s safe to project that an “ace” in the rotation, on a winning team, is worth around 19 to 25 Win Shares in a season. And, that’s better than the 12 to 15 that you get from a stellar set-up man (also on a winning team).

    Based on all this, it does suggest that the best place for the Yankees to use a talent like Joba Chamberlain is in the starting rotation.

    And, I still stand by that…

    …however…

    …if Joba, on normal rest, is going to pitch less like an ace and more like a “an above-average (but not awesome) starting pitcher,” then he would provide the Yankees with equal value if he were to be used in the bullpen and he could perform like “a stellar set-up man.”

    Of course, we’re dealing with a small sample size here…and need to see more data on how Chamberlain does, as a starter, with normal rest.  But, if his current trend continues…the debate on Joba-Starter versus Joba the Bridge will be one worth having…especially if the Yankees pen continues to show that it needs help.

    ‘Sado Returns Friday

    Posted by on May 28th, 2009 · Comments (3)

    Via the Daily News -

    New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada will come off the disabled list before Friday night’s game at Cleveland.

    The All-Star played six innings Thursday in an extended spring training game, then said he was scheduled to fly to Cleveland to meet up with his team.

    Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Posada will be activated but he did not yet have a corresponding roster move.

    Posada has been sidelined since straining his right hamstring May 4. The Yankees open a four-game series with the Indians on Friday night.

    “The hamstring is feeling good,” Posada said. “I’m happy with everything. The most important thing was just running, seeing some pitches and getting the timing down.”

    Wow. This is four weeks faster than I thought.

    Who goes to make room? Kevin Cash, Angel Berroa or Brett Tomko – with the latter being a long-shot. When you consider that Berroa has not faced a pitcher since May 4th, Cash might be safe for a little while longer…

    Former Yankee Clippard Sighting

    Posted by on May 28th, 2009 · Comments (2)

    Via Bill Gluvna’s Washington Nationals minor league report – an update on former Yankee Tyler Clippard:

    Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs
    International League North Division
    20-22, 4th Place , 8.0 Games Back

    TYLER MADE: In 14 relief appearances, RHP Tyler Clippard is 3-0 with a 1.38 ERA and a .169 batting average against…Clippard hasn’t allowed a hit since May 14 at Norfolk (Orioles), or in his last 6.0 innings (4 appearances)…the 24-year-old has worked more than 1.0 inning in 11 of his 14 appearances…he made 2 spot starts with the Nationals last season, going 1-1 with a 4.04 ERA…Clippard was acquired from the Yankees in exchange for RHP Jonathan Albaladejo, December 5, 2007.

    I recently read, in a print edition of Baseball America, a feature on Roy Silver that contained the following on Clippard:

    [Roy] Silver, 46, runs a baseball academy called The Winning Inning at Jack Russell Stadium, where the Phillies trained from 1955-2003.

    [Josh] Hamilton is the most high-profile case, but Silver has helped countless kids in the Tampa Bay area, including Nationals pitching prospect Tyler Clippard. Clippard drew considerable attention entering his senior year at Mitchell High in nearby Trinity, in 2003. But a drunken-driving arrest early in the baseball season almost derailed his budding career until his father brought him to Silver.

    “My world came tumbling down because baseball was my life,” Clippard said. “I was like a lost puppy and Roy led me in the right direction. I got a head start on professional baseball my senior year in high school because I go to this guy who teaches me things I’m still using today as far as mechanics. And he made a bunch of calls to scouts on my behalf.

    “And the most important thing, outside of the baseball knowledge that he has, is that he gets you to look beyond what’s happened to you and gets you to look at the bigger picture. Him getting me to look at those things at 18 had a huge impact on me being successful after I was drafted.”

    Clippard was drafted in the ninth round by the Yankees and reached the big leagues in 2007. He’s currently pitching in relief for the Nationals’ Triple-A affiliate in Syracuse.

    When I read that, I thought of Clippard’s MySpace page, when he first came up with the Yankees, where he had a picture of himself drinking and partying…

    …and, it made me wonder if some off-the-field stuff was part of the reason why the Yankees were so quick to move him…

    Jonathan Albaladejo has not impressed me, as a pitcher, for the Yankees. It will be interesting to see where Tyler Clippard ends up now that he’s pitching out of the pen too…and if the Yankees made the right move by flipping the kid for Albaladejo.

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 5/28/09

    Posted by on May 28th, 2009 · Comments (39)

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    May 2009 Survey Question #3

    Posted by on May 28th, 2009 · Comments (22)

    Please consider taking the following poll:

    {democracy:60}

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

    Maybe Yanks Should Have Picked Up Magrane Too?

    Posted by on May 28th, 2009 · Comments (3)

    A fun little list…From 1901 to 2009, lefty pitchers, through age 28 or younger, who were at least 6′ 6″ tall and weighed at least 230 lbs, and who had at least 100 games started, ranked by ERA+:

      Cnt Player            ERA+  Ht   Wt  GS From  To
    +----+-----------------+----+----+---+---+----+----+
        1 C.C. Sabathia      121 6.07 250 264 2001 2009 
        2 John Candelaria    119 6.07 232 211 1975 1982 
        3 Joe Magrane        113 6.06 230 147 1987 1993 
        4 Dennis Rasmussen    97 6.07 230 104 1983 1987 
    

    *Player ages are computed as their age on June 30th

    Three of the four have pitched for the Yankees…which is interesting.

    As Yankees fans, let’s hope that CC ends up being more durable (as a starting pitcher) than Candelaria as he hits his 30′s…

    An Aging Jeter & Some Interesting Stats

    Posted by on May 28th, 2009 · Comments (7)

    Via Tyler Kepner today -

    [Derek] Jeter turns 35 next month, but he is looking spry, unburdened by the leg problems that limited him last season, when he missed six games in April because of strained left quadriceps. Jeter has been running more, with 10 steals in 11 tries, and he is part of a defense that has not committed an error in a club-record 14 consecutive games. Jeter has also hit in his last 11 games, his longest streak of the season.

    “He just won’t buy into the fact that he’s getting older,” Girardi said. “He wants to play at a high level as long as he plays.”

    However, we also have this from Tom Verducci last December -

    None of the past 56 playoff teams and only two of the 112 playoff teams in the wild card era used someone 34 or older as their regular shortstop (Omar Vizquel of the 2001 Indians and Cal Ripken Jr. of the 1996 Orioles). Only one team since 1956 has won a pennant with a 34-or-older shortstop (the 1980 Phillies, with Larry Bowa). Keep that in mind if your team employs Tejada or Jeter, both of whom turn 35 next season, or is interested in Cabrera, 34, Eckstein, who turns 34 in January, Renteria, who turns 34 in August or Vizquel, who turns 42 in April.

    …Jeter turns 35 next month…
    …Only one team since 1956 has won a pennant with a 34-or-older shortstop…

    I don’t think we’ve had a “World’s Collide!” moment like this since Elaine wanted to start hanging with Susan, have we?

    WasWatching.com Day 1,500

    Posted by on May 28th, 2009 · Comments (13)

    Today is the 1,500th day since this blog was launched. During this time, there have been over 7,300 “posts” to WasWatching.com.

    That’s 4.9 posts per day – for those scoring at home. And, I’m not sure which is more scary about that…the fact that I’ve been averaging close to 5 posts per day here for over four years…or the fact that some may be keeping score of that at home.

    In any event, it’s been a fun 1,500 days. Thanks for sharing as many of them as you have with me, here. There’s really nothing I would have done differently with the blog these one thousand and five hundred days…well, there is one thing…and I’ve been thinking about it, a lot, recently. Can you guess what it is?

    May 27th @ The Rangers

    Posted by on May 27th, 2009 · Comments (9)

    If the Yankees would promise to have a game like this one…for all 162 of their contests in a season…I would swear to never get bored with the outcome…and, for sure, I would sleep well each night during the baseball season.

    Nice to see A.J. Burnett start to work things out. Even nicer to see Hideki Matsui blast two big flies. I never get tired of watching Godzilla crush a baseball. Actually, even though this one was a laughter of sorts, there were many pleasant things to see in it…sans Jose Veras, of course.

    But, most importantly, it’s a good game to win. Next, the Yankees have to play in Cleveland for four, then they have seven at home against Texas and Tampa, and then they have to head to Fenway for three and then come home for another three against the Mets. That’s not an easy 17 game run. Better to be coming off “two out of three wins” before that one – than to be coming off “four out of six losses” (which would have been the case if not for this win).

    What Went Wang?

    Posted by on May 27th, 2009 · Comments (11)

    Today, Peter Abraham wrote:

    Chien-Ming Wang has pitched horrifically this season. Brutally, terribly, awfully. Let’s get that right out of the way.

    But he was 46-15 with a 3.74 ERA before he hurt his foot last June and has never given the Yankees one ounce of trouble. He shows up, does his job and has been a model teammate.

    This is all true. And, to be candid, in a comment elsewhere on this blog today, I shared that I never saw “this” coming for Wang this season.

    But, then again, after his 1991 and 1992 seasons, in April of 1993, did anyone see “it” coming for then 23-year old Steve Avery?

    More recently, after his 2005, 2006, and 2007 seasons, in April of last year, did anyone see “it” coming for then 30-year old Aaron Harang?

    After his 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 seasons, in April of 2006, did anyone see “it” coming for then 27-year old Mark Buehrle?

    After his 1992, 1993 and 1994 seasons, in April of 1995, did anyone see “it” coming for then 29-year old Ken Hill?

    After his 2001, 2002 and 2003 seasons, in April of 2004, did anyone see “it” coming for then 29-year old Matt Morris?

    After his 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1988 seasons, in April of 1989, did anyone see “it” coming for then 27-year old Danny Jackson?

    After his 2001, 2002 and 2003 seasons, in April of 2004, did anyone see it coming for then 25-year old Joel Pineiro?

    After his 1997 and 1998 seasons, in April of 1999, did anyone see it coming for then 26-year old Justin Thompson?

    If you’re being honest, the answers to all these questions is probably “no.” (And, for the record, these are just some recent cases where a pitcher has hit the skids where it seemed like that could not happen to him, at that point. There are many, many, more that can be cited.)

    Now, this is NOT to say that Worm Killer Wang will have a terrible 2009. And, even if he does, this is NOT to imply that his career is over.

    But, this does suggest that, sometimes, for no reason that you could see coming, a pitcher, who appears to be a solid and proven commodity at the big league level, can have a season where it is ALL DOWNHILL for him – and out of the blue – at an age where it doesn’t seem probable (to happen).

    Why? Hey, as these cases prove, it’s happened in the past and it can happen again…at any time, to anyone.

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 5/27/09

    Posted by on May 27th, 2009 · Comments (9)

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