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The Yankees 2009 season is 28.4% in the books as of last night. This means, in about another week, this season will be one-third done.
As of this morning, the Yankees are in second place in the A.L. East – one game back of the Boston Red Sox. That’s the good news.
Overall, the Yankees record is now 26-20. They are 6 games over the .500 mark.
However, to date, the Yankees are 6-3 against the lowly Baltimore Orioles this year. And, the Yankees recently took a four-game series from the Twins – where the Yankees were very lucky, out-scoring the Twins by five runs, overall, in those four contests.
When you take these layup games against the O’s out of the picture, and subtract those four lucky wins against the Twinkies, the Yankees are 16-17. This is one game below the .500 mark.
This leads to today’s wild thought: Is the Yankees current place in the A.L. East standings misleading in terms of capturing their performance this season, so far? Has New York, sans some favorable match-ups and a few lucky games, been more of a mediocre performer this season? What do you think?
Yanks have now lost three of their last five and it would have been four of five if not for a Brad Lidge super-meltdown. New York misses playing the Baltimore Orioles.
Joba Chamberlain, in his own words, was terrible in this one. Alfredo Aceves was not much better.
Let the Austin Jackson debates begin if Melky Cabrera has to go on the disabled list now…
Oh, and, by the way, are you still loving Nick Swisher? Back in March, I said that Swisher is “more like a Brad Wilkerson or Jon Nunnally type of player. Someone who probably should be a fourth outfielder rather than a starting outfielder.” That’s starting to look more and more true. Of course, the problem is, the Yankees have no one else to play, now, in his place. Great roster management, Mr. Cashman.
This one was an interesting look at a then 50-year old George Steinbrenner. So funny, and kinda/sorta sad, to look back at it now.
What would Harry Doyle say about this performance?
Via Ken Rosenthal -
Hey, we all know the Yankees spend a ton of money. But the team has had unusual success of late signing inexpensive free agents out of Mexico. Infielder Ramiro Pena was one. Reliever Alfredo Aceves was another.
General manager Brian Cashman credits the team’s scout in Mexico, Lee Sigman, for the Yankees’ recent breakthroughs. Sigman also recommended reliever Joakim Soria when the Padres left him unprotected for the 2006 Rule 5 draft, but the Royals grabbed him first.
The Yankees, Cashman said, have two other Mexican players of note climbing through their minor-league system — Class AA first baseman Jorge Vazquez, 27, and Class A left-hander Manuel Banuelos, who, at 18, is one of the youngest players in the South Atlantic League.
Vazquez obviously is rather old for a player at Class AA, but Aceves was 26 when he signed with the Yankees in March 2008. Aceves had spent one year in the Blue Jays’ organization before playing six in Mexico, and Cashman compares his fearlessness to El Duque’s.
“We don’t care how old you are if you can play,” Cashman said. “If we think you can help us, we’ll sign you.”
…We don’t care how old you are if you can play. If we think you can help us, we’ll sign you…
Quick…somebody hide the phone numbers of Julio Franco, Bárbaro Garbey, and Bert Campaneris from Cashman!
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Via WPIX -
He used to “set em up Joe” for the ultimate Joe, Joe DiMaggio. But now longtime bartender 73 year old John Vendikos is out at home.
The veteran mixologist who spent 27 seasons at the House That Ruth Built has been dumped, he claims, because of his age. He poured drinks at the old Stadium Club for Yankee stars and fans but is out with the new Stadium and he is not happy.
Vendikos was certain he would have been in the starting lineup at the new stadium but was told in January that he would have to tryout again to make the team. The Yankees had started their own food-service company and they were re-interviewing workers.
“I had to wait in line for three hours, and when I got in, the guy said to me, ‘Why should I hire you? You’re an old man,’” Vendikos told The New York Post.
So now a complaint has been filed with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by Vendikos. His lawyer Lenard Leeds says it is a textbook case of age discrimination.
Yankee team spokeswoman Alice McGillion said “We have hired many people over the age of 65 at the new stadium and we deny the allegation of any age discrimination,” she told The Post.
…We have hired many people over the age of 65…
Well, this explains why Ángel Berroa is still on the roster…they probably want to use him as an example of this if the Vendikos case goes to court…
Seriously, someone should get a hold of John Vendikos and work with him on a book. I’m sure, if he’s been there since 1980, that he’s seen enough interesting things at the bar that would make it a fun read…
This may be more of a fact than a wild thought…but…have we heard a peep out of Hank Steinbrenner in the last three months? What ever happened to that guy? Looks like someone put a gag order on him…and then some. Either that, or, he’s having buyer’s remorse on the A-Rod deal and is now hiding out in a bunker somewhere.
Today, the Yankees started their fourth road-trip of the 2009 season. And, to-date, they have played three homestands this year – to match three road-trips prior to this current one. Related, I thought it would be interesting to look at the Yankees offensive marks, on a “Per Game Basis,” for each road-trip and homestand that they have played this year (so far). Here’s the numbers:
PA R HR RBI BB SO LOB Series Record 38.9 5.7 1.2 5.2 3.3 7.0 6.2 1st Road 5-4 43.2 5.5 2.3 5.3 5.5 5.7 10.0 1st Home 4-2 43.8 6.2 1.2 5.5 5.2 6.5 9.7 2nd Road 2-4 39.9 5.3 1.3 5.0 3.9 6.1 8.0 2nd Home 2-5 37.3 4.3 1.5 4.3 3.0 7.3 6.0 3rd Road 4-2 38.3 5.9 2.2 5.7 3.4 5.7 5.9 3rd Home 8-2
Look at the homeruns per game mark for each homestand. When the Yankees have 2+ homers per game at home, they’re 12-4 at home. But, when they’re under 2 homers per game at home, here, they’re 2-5. Basically, those extra homers have been the difference between scoring close to 5 runs a game at home and scoring closer to 6 runs a game at home…according to these numbers. And, when you factor in the number of one-run wins that the Yankees have posted at home this season, to date, that one run difference is huge.
So, maybe, having the new Yankee Stadium play like Coors Field East has helped the Yankees so far this year? What do you think?
Via Tyler Kepner –
…[Brian] Bruney is back on the disabled list, and he has an appointment Wednesday with Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. It makes sense, because Bruney has already had an M.R.I. and an arthrogram, trying to find out why his elbow hurts. Nothing has turned up so far, but whatever is in there, Andrews will find it.
It’s become a thorny issue for Manager Joe Girardi, who made it clear after Monday’s 11-1 win that he was not pleased with Bruney’s communication.
“I just think he wasn’t totally forthright in how he was feeling,” Girardi said. “We’ve had many talks with him over the last couple of weeks about how you have to tell us exactly what’s going on. It could be that by rushing himself back, he’s never given himself the amount of time he’s needed.”
No truth the the rumor, that, on his way down to Birmingham, Bruney was singing…
Blame it on the blues, got my ‘bow stewed,
Blame it on the replay, hangin’ each which way.
Blame it on the ump-a-ump-umpires…
Blame it on the ump-a-ump-umpires…
We’re beginning to see why the Diamondbacks were so willing to cut Bruney loose without a fight. Ditto that with Edwar Ramirez and the Angels and Jose Veras and the Rangers. But, perhaps the bigger issue here is the folly of Brian Cashman (and crew) to think the Yanks could populate half of their bullpen with these castoffs…
It’s time now to say that “Operation Island of Misfit Toys Bullpen” this season is perhaps as big a blunder by Cashman as counting on “Pavano & Igawa” in 2007 and “Hughes & Kennedy” in 2008.
Against all odds, Phil Hughes, in this contest, pitched the best game in his major league career, according to Game Score. See below for a list of every start Hughes has made for the Yankees, to date – including today, ranked by Game Score (G Sc):
Date Opp Pit G Sc 05/25/09 @TEX 101 81 05/01/07 @TEX 80 76 04/28/09 @DET 99 72 09/24/08 @TOR 100 70 09/27/07 @TBD 102 68 08/10/07 @CLE 95 65 04/03/08 TOR 87 59 09/11/07 @TOR 106 58 09/05/07 SEA 97 58 04/24/08 @CHW 23 55 09/17/08 CHW 89 52 05/20/09 BAL 89 51 09/17/07 BAL 96 50 08/26/07 @DET 97 49 08/15/07 BAL 94 47 08/20/07 @LAA 92 44 09/22/07 TOR 99 43 05/15/09 MIN 93 41 04/26/07 TOR 91 37 04/08/08 @KCR 87 33 05/04/09 BOS 94 32 08/31/07 TBD 94 31 04/18/08 @BAL 97 29 08/04/07 KCR 92 29 04/29/08 DET 82 20 04/13/08 @BOS 65 18 05/09/09 @BAL 53 5
Interesting: The best six games of Hughes’ big league career have all come on the road. And, eight of his ten best games have been as a visiting player. Maybe Phil doesn’t like the Bronx? My theory: Lefty-batters have a BA/OBA/SLG line of .326/.406/.562 in (102 PA) against Hughes at Yankee Stadium – in his career to date. To put it simply, lefties bat like Babe Ruth against Phil in New York…
Back to today’s success…it seems like aggressively swinging teams are no match for Hughes – if you believe that teams like the Rangers, Tigers, Blue Jays, Rays, and Indians of recent note are aggressively swinging teams…
Me? Dunno. I would have to look into that some more before I signed off on that one. What do you think?
What stands out the most in my mind, this past week, is that the Yankees went 5-2…however, if not for a Brad Lidge meltdown on Saturday, it would have been a 4-3 mark…with three of those four wins coming against a weak Baltimore Orioles team. It just seems like the Yankees are feasting off bad teams this season and having issues with the “better” teams (when they play them).
In fact, overall this season, through May 24th, the Yankees are 18-9 when playing a team with a .500 record or less and the Yankees are 7-10 when playing a team with a record better than .500 (to date this season).
Further, through May 24th, the Yankees are 10-5 when playing a team with a .450 record or less and the Yankees are 5-9 when playing a team with a record better than .550 (to date this season).
These numbers support the theory that the Yankees are feasting off bad teams this season and having issues with the “better” teams, no?
…and it’s bad news for the Yankees.
Here’s the BA/OBA/SLG line that Phil Hughes has allowed to the last 83 big league batters who have faced him: .391/.470/.768
Yes, that’s an OPS of twelve hundred and thirty eight.
And, here’s the BA/OBA/SLG line of Texas Rangers, to date, when they bat at home: .303/.369/.542
Yes, that’s an OPS of nine eleven.
This said, and considering the sorry state of the Yankees bullpen right now, I’m starting to get a Steve Trout flashback – and beginning to wonder if Kevin Cash can pitch…
Kevin Cooney and Phil Allard have recent posts on the new Yankee Stadium experience.
Skipped this one. We took the kids to go watch Sparky Lyle’s Somerset Patriots host Gary Carter’s Long Island Ducks. Great day for a ballgame in Somerset today. Here’s a snapshot about 15 minutes into the game:
[Click on the thumbnail to enlarge the picture.]
We had fun. It was “Bat Day” – so the kids got free bats. They had an on-the-field pre-game autograph session with the players – so the kids got some autographs from the players and had their pictures taken with some too. And, at the end of the game, the kids got to go on the field and run the bases. Now…that’s a day at the ballpark. (I got to see former Yankee Dan Miceli come into the game and throw a bit for the Ducks. And, since our seats were right behind the Pats’ on-deck circle, I got to see Somerset’s Matt Hagen – who played second today, up close. He’s built like Travis Hafner and can rake. Hey, it’s the little things that make me happy…)
Got home and found out that the Yankees wasted a fine effort from CC Sabathia today. Saw that Brian Cashman’s boy genius find Brett Tomko took the loss.
So, this is what we know about the 2009 Yankees so far this season:
Ability to beat the Boston Red Sox: None.
Ability to beat the Baltimore Orioles: Plenty.
Ability to narrowly beat the Minnesota Twins: Sure.
Ability to beat the Philadelphia Phillies without the assistance of a Brad Lidge meltdown: Very little.
If you ask me, the Yankees are starting to look like a team who is more than capable of beating up on the weak teams, and keep up with the good teams, but not able to beat the very good teams.
Now, I know that some say: That’s good. Your wins against the weak teams offset the losses against the very good ones…and then you make your season if you can beat the good ones. Sure, maybe that’s a way to win more than you lose, overall…however, when you get to October, and then only play very good teams, you get bounced in the ALDS – as the Yankees have been doing since 2005. Same ol’, same ol’…no?
Actually, I’m still willing to give it three more weeks. Let’s see where the Yankees are on June 15th – and how they do between now and then…should be interesting watching how they do in their next 20 games.
Recently, I finished reading Peter Golenbock’s new book – “George: The Poor Little Rich Boy Who Built the Yankee Empire.” For those who can’t figure it out, this is a biography of the New York Yankees’ George Steinbrenner.
Now, as some of you may have heard, this book was poorly edited. I caught about a half-dozen mistakes and stopped counting at that point. However, when the media spotlight first hit this issue, Golenbock issued the following statement:
“I regret and take responsibility for the errors in my current book and am working with the publisher to have those corrected at the next possible printing. I appreciate the eagle-eyed baseball fans who brought it to my attention.”
So, I’m willing to write-off the lackluster editing job on this one – and focus on the book at a higher level rather than get hung-up over some typos and the like – now that this matter has been addressed and the promise has been made to correct it.
The first third of “George” is all about Big Stein’s pre-Yankees days. For me, this was extremely interesting as it provided a great foundation of the George Steinbrenner story. Golenbock conducted several interviews of those who knew “The Boss” as a child, teen, and young man. Through these interviews we get good insight on what it was like growing up Steinbrenner.
Actually, much of the book’s strength is derived via interviews of individuals from key points in George Steinbrenner’s life. And, there were many, many, interviews conducted and shared in this book. I especially enjoyed those of Mitch Kukevics (the former Yankees Director of Minor League Operations) and Leo Hindery (the former CEO of the YES Network). Those two alone make this book worth reading – if you want to know what it was like working for George when he was still functioning as the head of the Yanks’ organization. (And, they also tell you something about those working directly under Big Stein too.)
Now, to be fair, there’s quite a bit about the George Steinbrenner/Billy Martin relationship in “George.” (How could there not be?) And, I thought that those sections seemed to paint more of the picture from Billy Martin’s side (in terms of life under George) and not enough from George Steinbrenner’s side (in terms of what he had to put up with – in order to reap the benefits of Martin’s managerial genius). But, since I know that Peter Golenbock wrote a book with Billy Martin in the past, I can understand why he had more to pull from Billy, in terms of Martin’s experience, than George Steinbrenner’s angle.
What clearly comes across in this book is that there were two sides of George Steinbrenner. There is one side who would be more than willing to destroy the life of another individual if it meant that it would benefit Big Stein in some way – such as the way George threw former classmate and employee Jack Melcher under the bus during the whole Steinbrenner illegal campaign contribution matter. And, there is another side that is capable of magnanimous and anonymous charitable acts to benefit those with whom George had no relationship with, whatsoever, prior to the act.
It doesn’t seem possible that those two qualities could exist in the same person, does it? Yet, it does in George Michael Steinbrenner III. And, if you want to learn more about such an interesting character, I recommend reading “George: The Poor Little Rich Boy Who Built the Yankee Empire.”
Look at it this way. George Steinbrenner is easily one of the most ten important people in the history of the New York Yankees organization. And, many fans only know part of the Steinbrenner story. If you’re a Yankees fan, why not take advantage of this book and learn the rest of it?
Watching all these homeruns fly out of the new Yankee Stadium, and seeing a few issues already this season around fan interference and balls leaving the park, it makes me wonder if, next season, we’ll see a plexiglass extension added to the top of the fences at Yankee Stadium – like they had in left field at the Metrodome from 1983 to 1993?
Really, what else can they do, if they want to do something about all the big flies in the Bronx these days? They’re not going to remove seats and push the walls back. Since there’s less area behind home plate in the new place, it’s not like you can push the dish back – as some parks have done in the past in order to increase the distance to the fences without having to move walls. And, you can’t make the fences taller without blocking some fan views – unless you go the plexiglass route.
Man, if that happens, is that going to be ugly, or what? It’s like going to a hockey arena to watch a baseball game…
At this moment, the Yankees are actually a game ahead, in the loss column, of the first place Blue Jays. And, the Yanks are tied with the Red Sox – thank you Omir Santos – for second place in the A.L. East:
W L PCT GB Toronto 27 19 .587 - Boston 25 18 .581 .5 Yankees 25 18 .581 .5
All things considered, that’s not too shabby with 25% of the season in the books. So, now, New York somewhat owns their own destiny over the next 119 games.
Things were looking prittay..prittay…bleak…for a while in this one.
Pettitte was decent sans a couple of mistakes that went a long way. However, the Yankees offense looked like Bernie Lomax against J.A. Happ.
By the way, how cool would it have been if A.J. Zapp had a chance to bat against J.A. Happ? (And, is it just me who gets A.J. Zapp confused with Ron Wright sometimes? Must be the “Braves 1B pick” thing? I wonder if Zapp would have been as happy as Wright to have just one game in the bigs – albeit a funky one?)
In any event, that bottom of the ninth inning was IMPRESSIVE. All of it. Damon’s tough At Bat – working out the walk. A-Rod’s homer. Cano’s single and steal. And, of course, Melky’s winner. Very, very, impressive…
Yes, color me impressed. Well, sorta/kinda…
…because, for all we know, this game could have been more a matter of the fact that Brad Lidge is terrible now. Check the stats. Prior to the ninth inning today, the last 42 batters to face Lidge this season have fashioned a BA/OBA/SLG line of .351/.405/.676 – over nine games. That’s one Phugly Phillie. Just something to keep in mind…
Tomorrow should be fun. Big CC and Hamels locking up. If the Yankees can win that one…and take two of three from the defending champs…that would say a lot more to me, about this Yankees team than the wins against the Twins and O’s. Of course, we have to wait and see…
I was running some of the usual Saturday errands today. And, I had my five-year old son in the car with me. At one point, we were pulling out of a parking lot, into traffic, and this exchange went down:
Him: You’re going to have to wait for that car to pass before you can drive on the road.
Me: Yes, I see the car. Don’t worry. I’ve been driving for thirty years now. I know what I’m doing.
Him: Thirty years?
Me: Yes. That’s a long time, do you know how long that is?
Him: It’s probably like a hundred years.
Me: I hope not. I was seventeen when I started driving.
Him: Do you remember when you first started driving?
Me: Yes. I remember it very well. You would have liked my car back then – it looked like a race car.
Him: How did you start driving?
Me: Well, first you have to take a class, and then you have to take two tests, and then when you’re seventeen, you can start driving.
Him: Do you remember the name of the teacher who taught you in that class?
Me: No. Actually, I don’t remember his name.
Him: I thought you said you remembered when you first started driving?
Me: Yes. I remember when I started. But, I don’t remember every detail of it.
Him: Did you have hair when you started driving?
Me: Yes. I did have hair back then.
In any event, here’s a picture of my first car. I bought it in the Fall of 1979. It was a 1976 Chevy Camaro. Man, I waxed that baby so many times that you would slide right off it, if you tried to lean against it. Lots of fun with that one. My, how times have changed…I now drive a 10-year old, Chevy Lumina, with 160,000 miles on it – and it hasn’t been washed since some time in 2007…
Tom Boorstein, over at SNY.tv, takes a look at the Yankees bullpen, among other things, in his latest feature (on the state of the Yankees pitching). Here’s a snip:
Brian Bruney, just off the disabled list, has more elbow pain. Phil Coke has had back problems and a propensity to go from bad to good and back in the blink of an eye. Mariano Rivera has already allowed more home runs (five) than he has in any season since 2001, when he also allowed five. Damaso Marte is on the DL with a shoulder injury and is a distant memory.
Gone from the Opening Day bullpen are Edwar Ramirez and Jonathan Albaladejo, both sent to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Steven Jackson (designated for assignment and claimed off waivers by the Pirates) didn’t even pitch for the team despite being on the roster for a week. David Roberston has been up and down, as has Anthony Claggett. The Yankees have even been desperate enough to call up — and keep (!) — Brett Tomko.
Some of the worst bullpens in Yankees history include the squads from 2004, 2005 and 2008.
Yes, I know that many liked last year’s pen. However, LaTroy Hawkins, David Robertson, Damaso Marte and Ross Ohlendorf were all sore spots, to an extent last season. (In 2004, Felix Heredia, Tanyon Sturtze, Scott Proctor and Gabe White were the warts of the Yanks’ pen. And, in 2005, Felix Rodriguez, Scott Proctor, Mike Stanton, Alan Embree and Paul Quantrill were not pretty.)
So, when you factor in the mess of this year’s bullpen, that’s four of the last six seasons where Brian Cashman has had issues putting together an effective and deep pen.
And, for the record, the Yankees starting staffs in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 were a mess too. See:
Carl Pavano, Al Leiter, Kevin Brown and Jaret Wright in 2005.
Randy Johnson, Shawn Chacon, Cory Lidle and Sidney Ponson in 2006.
Mike Mussina, Kei Igawa, Matt DeSalvo and Tyler Clippard in 2007.
Darrell Rasner, Sidney Ponson, Ian Kennedy, Philip Hughes and Carl Pavano in 2008.
Last time I checked, being able to put together a solid pitching staff was something you wanted out of your G.M., no?
Breaking News: The Philadelphia Phillies are not the Baltimore Orioles.
Let’s see: J-Roll takes A.J. Burnett deep on the first pitch of the game. Next, with his second pitch of the game, Burnett hits Chase Utley. So…
In the bottom of the first inning, Brett Myers gets a quick strike one on Derek Jeter (leading off for the Yankees). Next, with his second pitch of the game, Myers throws one behind Jeter’s back – sending the message that he, and his team, will not be pushed around…and that’s how this game went.
For seven innings, Myers stuffed it down the Yankees throats – before tiring in the eighth. And, on the flip-side, the Phils’ Carlos Ruiz and Jayson Werth played “Who can hit it farther?” off Burnett. (Werth won, by the way.)
Worm Killer Wang closed it out for the Yankees…slopping his way through three innings…allowing two runs…but also saving a Yankees hurting pen (by not bringing cause to use someone else).
The Yankees have to face Cole Hamels on Sunday. Next, the unreliable Phil Hughes pitches on Monday for New York – followed by sore-kneed Joba Chamberlain the day after that. And, four days from this game. A.J. Burnett goes again. What does this all mean? Simple: As much as the nine game winning streak was nice…the Yankees just may have started a streak tonight where they’re going to lose five of six games (in their series against the Phillies and Rangers). Also, it could be six losses in a row if Andy Pettitte fails against the Phils tomorrow.
Then again, maybe the Yankees will win their next five games in a row? Who knows, right? That’s what baseball is all about…
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