• Reaching For An Answer To A-Rod’s Slump

    Posted by on June 20th, 2009 · Comments (2)

    Via Marc Carig:

    Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long keeps an array of stats and charts. One of them tracks “reaches,” or how many times a hitter extends his hands from his body to reach for a ball. It’s obviously a bad habit, one that can rob a hitter of power, among other debilitating side effects.

    Since June 5, by Long’s count, Rodriguez has reached on about 85 percent of his swings. In those 12 games, Rodriguez is hitting just .125 (5-for-40) with two homers and four RBIs. In that same span, his batting average plummeted from .253 to his current .212.

    Coincidence? Maybe not.

    “I was shocked at the number,” Long said of the slugger’s reach percentage. “I didn’t think it was that many.”

    Rodriguez said the habit has thrown his contact point off, and the numbers seem to indicate that the slugger is indeed reaching. Rodriguez is making contact with 58.2 percent of the pitches he’s offers at that are considered outside of the strike zone. That’s his highest rate since 2002, the first year that such data became available.

    “We’ve got to get it compact, we’ve got to get it tight, we’ve got to get it explosive,” Long said of Rodriguez’s swing.

    Bad habit?

    When I saw this report from Carig this morning, the immediate thing I thought of was that scouting report (via Jayson Stark) which I shared here on May 14th. In it, the scout said:

    “But [A-Rod’s] biggest problem, I think, is at the plate. He can’t get to the low, outside fastball or the slider away. He normally takes those balls the other way, but he can’t get there. And as word gets around the league, he may have more holes than he’s ever had.”

    So, is the issue of Alex’s slump just a “bad habit,” or, more so, is it a matter of the league realizing that Rodriguez “can’t get to the low, outside fastball or the slider away” and that’s all they’re giving him – and that’s why he’s reaching so much now?

    June 19th @ The Marlins

    Posted by on June 20th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    At the start of this one, I thought that maybe the Yankees would have a laugher. It was 1-0, New York, after one. It was 4-0, New York, after two. And, it was 5-1, New York after three. But, then, all the scoring stopped.

    Actually, around the sixth inning, I was starting to get nervous – with the fear that the lack of “tack on” runs by the Yankees would allow the Marlins to get back into this game. Good thing that never happened.

    In the end, the Yankees had 13 hits and collected 5 walks. But, they “only” scored those five runs. It’s interesting, over the years, the Yankees would have maybe five or six games all season where they would have 18 batters or more reach base and score five runs or less. And, now, with this game, they already have six such games this season – and there’s 95 games left to play. Does that mean the Yankees offense is good, or, does it mean that they’re leaving too many runners on base? It’s probably some combination of both.

    Nice to see Pettitte have a good game – even if he’s still not feeling 100% yet. It’s funny, when Jorge Cantu flied out to center, against Pettitte, to end the sixth inning, I was thinking “Boy, I bet the Yankees pitchers would love to throw in a ballpark this size everyday.” And, then, after the game, I saw that Peter Abraham was thinking the same thing.

    Somehow, some way, they have to fix the new Yankee Stadium next year. It would be so nice to see the Yankees pitchers actually have a chance to be successful at home too.

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 6/19/09

    Posted by on June 19th, 2009 · Comments (22)

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    Verducci: What To Do With A-Rod?

    Posted by on June 19th, 2009 · Comments (4)

    Via Tom Verducci today –

    Does Yankees manager Joe Girardi need to find more down time for Alex Rodriguez? Or does the New York manager keep running Rodriguez out there hoping the third baseman, who turns 34 next month and is coming off hip surgery, simply needs more at-bats to find his groove? Those questions have become more acute as A-Rod continues to slump, and Girardi will not have use of the DH option for the next nine games as New York plays in NL parks.

    Girardi initially indicated he would ease Rodriguez into playing shape when he returned from surgery. But Rodriguez hasn’t missed a game yet, and his fielding and hitting have worsened. He’s down to .212 for the season, is stuck in a 13-for-74 slide (.176), has hit one home run on the road all year and has slugged only .462. The last time he slugged that low for a season was when he was 19 and played in 48 games. Get him out of the Yankee Stadium bandbox, and he has the same road slugging percentage as David Eckstein of the Padres (.373).

    Age and health have come into play. Since Rodriguez turned 33 last July 27, he is a .246 hitter over 93 games.

    Man, if A-Rod does go on to hit .246 over the rest of his Yankees career, I hope Hank Steinbrenner comes out of hiding and admits that he screwed the pooch on this one.

    Maybe the two day rest that Girardi is now giving Alex will help A-Rod come around a bit?

    SNY New York Baseball Today Video

    Posted by on June 19th, 2009 · Comments (0)

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

    Cashman: Season Evaluation Comes Down To Winning

    Posted by on June 19th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    Via Yankees.com:

    Although in general Cashman appears optimistic about the roster he has built, the Yankees’ motto — at least since he assumed the role of general manager in 1998 — has been that a season isn’t a success unless it culminates in a World Series championship. In accordance with that standard, Cashman says it is too soon to evaluate the team’s season.

    “I will only be satisfied if we win. It won’t matter if we have three big free agents signed that are playing tremendously,” said Cashman, referring to starting pitchers CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett and first baseman Mark Teixeira, who all signed with the Yankees during the offseason. “It the team doesn’t win, it doesn’t mean anything.”

    Agreed, Brian. Agreed.

    The Yankees Can’t Beat Unfamiliar Pitchers Fallacy

    Posted by on June 19th, 2009 · Comments (22)

    According to Baseball-Reference.com’s Play Index Pitching Game Finder, since 1996, to date, the Yankees have faced an opposing starting pitcher 374 times where the pitcher had 30 games or less of major league experience.

    Within those 374 times, the opposing starter went on to pitch a game with a Game Score of 60 or more in 68 games. And, within those 374 times, the opposing starter went on to pitch a game with a Game Score of 50 or less in 239 games.

    Also, according to Baseball-Reference.com’s Play Index Pitching Game Finder, since 2004, to date, the Yankees have faced an opposing starting pitcher 149 times where the pitcher had 30 games or less of major league experience.

    Within those 149 times, the opposing starter went on to pitch a game with a Game Score of 60 or more in 29 games. And, within those 149 times, the opposing starter went on to pitch a game with a Game Score of 50 or less in 97 games.

    So, where is the proof that the Yankees struggle so mightily against unfamiliar pitchers?

    Some Yanks Stuff In My Mailbox

    Posted by on June 19th, 2009 · Comments (7)

    Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant (18 W. 33rd St.) on Wednesday announced that NY Yankee great Paul O’Neill has won the fan vote for 2009 induction into the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame. Balloting was conducted on www.foleysny.com.

    O’Neill was a five-time World Series Champion with Cincinnati Reds (1990) and NY Yankees (1996, 1998-2000) who won the AL batting title in 1994. Nicknamed “The Warrior” by George Steinbrenner, he outpaced Nolan Ryan, baseball’s all-time strikeout king, Washington Nationals slugger Adam Dunn, popular former Mets “Super Joe” McEwing, and pitcher Al Leiter. Paul O’Neill will be inducted into the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday, July 7, 2009, along with several other honorees.

    Thanks to John Mooney for this information on Paul O’Neill.

    Celebrities For Charity is currently raffling off Two Legends Suite Tickets to the August 8, 2009 game against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. The prize also includes hotel accommodations to the Marriott Marquis Times Square in NYC, a $250 travel voucher as well as a cash prize to mitigate taxes as a result of winning the raffle. Raffle tickets are only $2 a pop with a minimum purchase of five tickets. The proceeds go to charity and help a good cause.

    The link for the raffle is
    https://www.celebritiesforcharity.org/raffles/rosie_yankees.cfm
    and the raffle deadline is Wednesday, August 5, 2009 at 11:00am EDT.

    Thanks to Jon at Netraffle.com for this information on the raffle.

    Yesterday (June 18, 2009) on the MLB Home Plate channel on SIRIUS XM Radio, host Jody McDonald spoke with Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon.

    At the end of the interview Papelbon was asked if he would ever consider playing for the Yankees if he was unable to reach an agreement with Boston before becoming eligible for free agency after the 2011 season.

    Host, Jody McDonald: “If you couldn’t work out a contract with the Red Sox before free agency comes up and you eventually become a free agent, is the Bronx ever a possibility?”

    Jonathan Papelbon: “Oh, of course. I mean, I think if we can’t come to an agreement on terms here in a Red Sox uniform, I mean, I think that’s pretty much the writing on the wall. If they can’t come to terms with you they’re letting you know that, ‘Hey you know what? We can go somewhere else.’ And I think it’s the same way on the other side, ‘Hey if ya’ll can’t come to an agreement with me then I can go somewhere else.’ Not only in the Bronx, but anywhere. I think anywhere is a possibility. You always have to keep that in the back of your mind because you can’t just be one-sided and think that, ‘Oh I’m going to be in a Red Sox uniform my entire career.’ Because nowadays that is very, very rare and hopefully we can because there’s no question I would love to stay in a Boston Red Sox uniform but I have to do what’s best for me and play in an atmosphere where I’m wanted and play on a team where I’m wanted and that’s all I can really say about that, you know?”

    Thanks to Andrew FitzPatrick for this information on Papelbon’s quote.

    ‘09 Yanks: More Mediocrity Than Anything Else

    Posted by on June 18th, 2009 · Comments (52)

    Over the course of their first 28 games this season, from Opening Day on April 6th through May 7th, the New York Yankees went 13-15. And, at the close of business on May 7th, the Yankees found themselves sitting in 3rd place in the A.L. East, 5.5 games back of first place. With an overall record two games under .500 after their first month of play, New York played, and looked like, a mediocre ballclub.

    However, over their next 13 games, the Yankees caught fire – as they went 11-2 from May 8th through May 21st. During this time, they moved four games closer to first place (shaving their games back from 5.5 to just 1.5).

    At that time, few looked at that 11-2 run by New York and were willing to say that most of that was against the Orioles and Twins (where the Yankees went 9-1).

    In fact, the Yankees went 5-1 against the Orioles during this time and Baltimore had just fashioned a terrible string of games prior to this period where they went 6-15 (from April 15th through May 7th). Basically, the Yankees caught the O’s when they were playing terrible baseball. Also, the Yankees went 4-0 against the Twins during this period where the Yankees were very lucky, out-scoring the Twins by five runs, overall, in those four contests.

    But, for the record, at this blog, on May 27th, one week after the Yankees finished that 11-2 run, I wrote:

    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?

    Based on the comments left to that entry, many disagreed with my suggestion that “sans some favorable match-ups and a few lucky games” the Yankees had “been more of a mediocre performer this season.”

    Well, what’s happened in Yankeeland since that run where New York went 11-2?

    Including today’s loss against the lowly Washington Nats, in their last 25 games, from May 22nd through June 18th, the New York Yankees have gone 13-12. Just as was the case in their first 28 games of the season, with this mark, New York has played, and looked like, a mediocre ballclub. Actually, it’s worse than this when you consider that Willy Aybar and Luis Castillo handed the Yankees two wins during this period. Even Yankees fanboys with the biggest and baddest pair of Yankees Blinders possible would be willing to admit that New York’s record should be more like 11-14 over these last 25 games rather than the 13-12 that it’s been, in reality.

    So, in summary, this has been the Yankees 2009 season to date: 28 games of mediocrity, followed by 13 games of serendipity, followed by 25 games of mediocrity. Basically, it’s been a couple of thin slices of luck sandwiched by two thick oversized slices of mediocrity. And, to me, when you digest that sandwich, you mostly taste the mediocrity.

    Hopefully, the remaining 96 games for the Yankees this season will be more palatable. However, if it ends up being another big bowl of mediocrity, I would not be shocked. As, so far this season, the Yankees have showed us that they are capable of little else other than playing bourgeoisie (middle class) baseball.

    June 18th vs. The Nationals

    Posted by on June 18th, 2009 · Comments (14)

    pathetic

    Main Entry: pa·thet·ic
    Pronunciation: \pə-ˈthe-tik\
    Function: adjective
    Etymology: Middle French or Late Latin; Middle French pathetique, from Late Latin patheticus, from Greek pathētikos capable of feeling, pathetic, from paschein (aor. pathein) to experience, suffer — more at pathos
    Date: 1598
    1 : having a capacity to move one to either compassionate or contemptuous pity
    2 : marked by sorrow or melancholy : sad
    3 : pitifully inferior or inadequate [the restaurant’s pathetic service]
    4 : absurd, laughable [a pathetic costume]
    5 : the way the New York Yankees played the Washington Nationals during the games of June 16, 17, and 18 in 2009.

    You lollygag the ball around the infield. You lollygag your way down to first. You lollygag in and out of the dugout. You know what that makes you? The Yankees in their last 14 games where they’ve gone 6-8 and should have gone 4-10 if not for gifts from Willy Aybar and Luis Castillo.

    Joe Girardi must feel like he’s wet nurse to an overpaid, dead-to-the-neck-up ball club, and he’s choking to death.

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 6/18/09

    Posted by on June 18th, 2009 · Comments (11)

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    A Mango Tree Grows In The Bronx?

    Posted by on June 18th, 2009 · Comments (3)

    Via Gordon Edes:

    Pedro Martinez once famously referred to the New York Yankees as “my daddy” after losing a game to them, prompting 50,000 fans in Yankee Stadium to mock him with a “Who’s your daddy?” chant during a subsequent appearance in the 2004 postseason. Martinez ranks as one of the top villains in Yankee lore – having sent Derek Jeter and Alfonso Soriano to the hospital in the same game after he hit them with pitches and tossing Joe Torre’s beloved bench coach, Don Zimmer, to the ground during a brawl.

    Yet Yankees fans soon could be cheering Martinez as one of their own, according to a source close to the 37-year-old right-hander. The source said the Yankees are one of four teams planning to watch the three-time Cy Young Award winner throw in the Dominican Republic on Friday.

    The Tampa Rays, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Angels are the other teams planning to watch Martinez throw. On Wednesday, Martinez said he had spoken with the Cubs and Rays and “there’s a good chance I’ll be signing soon, but there still isn’t anything firm.”

    Could Slippery Pete still help a big league baseball team? Yeah, maybe…

    As a Yankees fan, do I want to see him wearing Yankees pinstripes? To be honest, not really. Why would the Yankees do this? Maybe they’re worried about Wang and/or Pettitte?

    But, if the Yankees are sending someone to watch Martinez, it’s not just for show…it means they have an interest. And, where there’s smoke…

    SNY New York Baseball Today Video

    Posted by on June 18th, 2009 · Comments (0)

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

    Swisher Consistently Inconsistent?

    Posted by on June 18th, 2009 · Comments (2)

    Via ESPN.com

    Seems [Nick Swisher is] battling overexposure on my television for a whole week, and then I forget he’s even in the league for about three weeks. Witness that he hit .312 in April, .150 in May and is hitting .306 in June. And in case you think that’s a mirage, consider that in 2008 he sandwiched a .315 June with a .176 May and a .193 July. This streakiness is so pronounced that mixed leaguers can probably leave him on their bench until there are signs of a heat-up.

    It’s pretty interesting that Swisher, for the last two years, has been good in April and June and bad in May. (Note to self: Watch for Swisher’s stats this July and see if his pattern from last year continues.)

    When I saw that, I immediately thought of Jason Giambi back in 2006 and back in 2008. What is it with these former Oakland A’s players and this cycle of good month, bad month, that they always seem to go through?

    Wild Thought: To Take The Pass, Or Not, When The Heat Is On?

    Posted by on June 18th, 2009 · Comments (17)

    There seems to be much talk in Yankeeland today about Alex Rodriguez taking a walk in the bottom of the 9th inning last night – with one out and the tying run on third base. Some feel that A-Rod should have made contact, somewhere in his At Bat, and driven home the tying run. And, others feel that A-Rod did the correct thing by not expanding his strike zone, etc., and taking the free pass.

    It’s funny, it spots like this, I always think back to a Yankees game from the 1980’s. It’s when Don Mattingly was in his prime and Bill White and the Scooter were doing the Yankees broadcasts. In this game, the Yankees were losing, and it was late, and Donnie Baseball came through with a huge hit – on a pitch that was up around his eyes. When it happened, Bill White went nuts. In praise of Mattingly, White went on and on about how Mattingly was a winning player, a team player, and a leader, etc., – because he knew that he was never going to get a good pitch to hit in that At Bat (as the other team didn’t want ‘the big man’ to beat them) and he took it upon himself to make something happen despite of those plans by the opposing team (and pitcher).

    I’m not 100% sure – but, I want to say it was the Yankees game of May 13, 1985. I do recall that it was a home game, at night, and it was when Mattingly was among the best in the game. And, I know that White stopped doing Yankees games after 1988. Looking at Mattingly’s homerun log, it appears that May 13, 1985 could have been that game.

    In any event, that’s today’s wild thought. In a big spot, should ‘the man’ on your team be happy to take a walk, if the other team is not willing to let him beat them? Or, are you like Bill White and feel that a winning and team player, a leader, should make it happen based on what he has to work with?

    Me? I see both sides of the debate. I understand, as a batter, how you shouldn’t chase pitches. But, then again, if something is close enough to make it happen…as a fan, I love it when our ‘man’ comes through with a hit in a spot like that, taking it on his own shoulders, rather than leaving it up to the next guy.

    It’s a tough call. But, a fun wild thought.

    June 17th vs. The Nationals

    Posted by on June 17th, 2009 · Comments (20)

    Ouch!

    Man, I was all set to start typing “The Yankees Brett Gardner is to the Washington Nationals as former Red Sox Dave Roberts is to the Yankees…” But, the rally in the 9th stalled. Shame that it even had to come down to a rally in the last frame. I mean, hey, these are the Washington Nationals, right?

    Oh, well, anyway…this one must have been a thrill for Washington’s John Lannan…and, know what? He earned it.

    Before I forget, by the way, I’m loving Phil Hughes out of the bullpen. He just seems like a different pitcher, to me, in relief. He’s throwing harder and seems to have an attitude…

    In one of his books, Sparky Lyle talked about Jim Beattie and Ken Clay coming out of nowhere to win Game 1 of the ‘78 ALCS. The way he described them was like:

    They were throwing hand grenades – the way their stuff was so nasty. Plus, they were pitching with a look on their mug that said “OK, go ahead, try and hit this!”

    That’s the vibe that Hughes is giving off now…“OK, go ahead, try and hit this!”

    Cool beans.

    Now, back to the bad stories from tonight – besides the stinging loss to the lowly Nats. Wang and A-Rod.

    I still don’t think Wanger is out of the woods. Lots of high pitches. Lots of pitches with no sink. And, according to Kay and Flash in the YES booth, some ticks off the radar readings. Yeah, sure, I give him another start. But, I’m not feeling like he’s back yet.

    A-Rod? What’s he hitting this month, so far, around a buck-seventy? What if he does that for the entire month of June? It has me thinking…

    At any time in his career, so far, has Albert Pujols hit a buck-seventy over a month? How about Manny Ramirez? Shoot, what about Chipper Jones? Or, David Wright? Or, Chase Utley?

    To be honest, I don’t know the answer. But, it’s an interesting question: How can a batter as “great” as Alex Rodriguez look so bad for an extended period of time like this? You would think that someone with that kind of talent could hit .240 with one hand tied behind their back, no? Hopefully A-Rod goes on a super hot streak over the next two weeks and makes this a moot question…

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 6/17/09

    Posted by on June 17th, 2009 · Comments (12)

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    SNY New York Baseball Today Video

    Posted by on June 17th, 2009 · Comments (0)

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

    June 16th vs. The Nationals

    Posted by on June 16th, 2009 · Comments (11)

    Totally missed this one. I went with some buddies to go see Sparky Lyle’s Somerset Patriots host Gary Carter’s Long Island Ducks. We had nice seats – first row right next to the outfield side of the visitor’s dugout. Basically, it was like sitting on the end of the Ducks’ bench (since our row of seats started where the dugout ended).

    Former Yankee Brad Halsey started for the Ducks. It was strange…during the playing of the National Anthem, Halsey was standing no more than ten feet in front of me. And, all I could think, at that time, was “Wow. Just about this time five years ago, I’m sitting in Yankee Stadium, watching Halsey start a game for the Yankees against the Red Sox – where Jeter would dive head-first into the stands after catching a pop-up – and, now, here he is, standing no more than an earshot of a whisper away from me getting ready to play a game in Bridgewater, New Jersey. You never know where life is going to take you, do you?”

    For the record, Halsey looked pretty good – and I doubt that he’ll be in the Atlantic League for long, given that he’s still young, left-handed, can touch 90 MPH with his fastball, and change speeds.

    In any event, at one point, one of my buddies came back from getting a beer and he told me that the Yanks were losing, 3-2, at the end of six. Hearing that, I thought “Oh, no, don’t tell me that they’re going to lose this game to the Nationals!”

    As it turned out, the Patriots game ended about the same time as the Yankees game and I was able to listen to John Sterling’s post-game wrap-up and Suzyn Waldman’s clubhouse report on the drive home. Whew. It was nice to hear that the Yankees came back in this one. It will make sleeping tonight a lot easier. Sounds like Cano and Sabathia were the stars in this one. Actually, considering the state of the Yankees bullpen this year, to date, and the inconsistency of the Yankees starting pitchers, Sabathia just may be the team MVP – for the first half of the season – with all the innings that he gives you, each time out.

    Now, that all said, considering that it was CC Sabathia starting this game for New York, and the Yankees were playing the Nationals, and Washington was on the road and starting some greenhorn from Curacao named Shairon Martis, there’s no need to hold a parade for New York over the fact that they took this contest. This was a game that they’re supposed to win. So, mark this one down as complete on the “To Do” list and move on to tomorrow…

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 6/16/09

    Posted by on June 16th, 2009 · Comments (21)

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    SNY New York Baseball Today Video

    Posted by on June 16th, 2009 · Comments (0)

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

    Yankee Stadium From A Mets Fan’s View

    Posted by on June 16th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    Matt Cerrone, of MetsBlog.com, was at the Yankees game last Sunday with his wife – who is a Yankees fan! While there, Matt snapped off a few cool pictures. Click here to check them out.

    Amore On Lack Thereof For ‘Sado’s Game Calling

    Posted by on June 16th, 2009 · Comments (13)

    Via Dom Amore today –

    On Sunday, A.J. Burnett pitched seven scoreless innings, his best game of the season, and lavished praise on rookie Francisco Cervelli, who began the season at Double A Trenton. Burnett shook off Cervelli twice in 111 pitches.

    “He’s very energetic back there,” Burnett said. “He has a conviction about any sign he puts down.”

    So far this season, Yankees pitchers have a 6.31 ERA in the 232 1/3 innings Posada has caught, which includes most of Chien-Ming Wang’s 21 1/3 innings and 14.34 ERA.

    With Cervelli, Kevin Cash and Jose Molina, the ERA is 3.81 in 333 1/3 innings.

    “I know people are making a huge deal out of that,” manager Joe Girardi said. “Some of that is Chien-Ming Wang, some of that is learning a new pitching staff and adjusting. I think a lot of it is just coincidence.”

    CC Sabathia has been pitching exclusively to Cervelli since early May. Now Burnett, who was critical of Posada after blowing a 6-0 lead at Fenway Park in April and pitched poorly in Boston last week, seems to have found his groove with Cervelli.

    A decade ago, David Cone and Roger Clemens were among those who preferred to pitch to Girardi rather than Posada. That was easier to explain, since Girardi was a veteran and Posada was just assuming the starting role. Girardi was let go after the 1999 season, in large part to take that option away and establish Posada as the everyday catcher.

    Clemens and Posada soon developed a strong relationship. But in 2000, Cone, in the midst of a 4-14 season, ended up pitching regularly to backup Chris Turner.

    “I was panicking,” Cone said. “My stuff wasn’t as good, I didn’t know what to throw. Jorge didn’t know what to put down. I’ve apologized to him since then.”

    Over the years that followed, several pitchers have expressed problems throwing to Posada, including Mike Mussina and Randy Johnson, who was paired exclusively with John Flaherty for much of the 2005 season. In 2002, Orlando Hernandez and Posada had a confrontation in the clubhouse before a game. Still, Posada caught David Wells’ perfect game in 1998 and most of the postseason games for three championship teams.

    “You can’t lay it all on Jorge,” Cone said. “He did a great job with Boomer [Wells], he did a great job with Rocket. Those guys let him lead. He wants to lead, and that’s what he’s there for. You have to let him lead early in a game. If you’re shaking him off right from the start, like Joba was, you’re going to have a tough time.”

    But why? Different pitchers, past and present, have had different issues. Some have said privately that Posada tends to approach hitters the way opposing pitchers approach him. Others found him to be too sensitive about being shaken off, especially when he was younger.

    More recently, pitchers have noted that Posada gives the signs deliberately, and after flashing signs he tucks his hand behind his back. So if the pitcher shakes him off, he has to start over. Other catchers flash signs quickly and, if the pitcher disagrees, just keep flashing, so the rhythm is better. With Chamberlain shaking off Posada so often Friday, there seemed to be an eternity between pitches. Posada was asked if his relationship with Chamberlain was becoming as volatile as it was with Hernandez.

    It’s interesting that Andy Pettitte is not mentioned here. I recall hearing, in the past, that Pettitte doesn’t like to think on the mound. And, he just wants to be told what to throw and then concentrates on the quality of the pitch – rather than worry about the strategy of the pitch. Perhaps that’s why Andy is not listed as having an issue with Jorge – because he throws what he is told?

    When you read between the lines it sure does sound like Posada is a my-way-or-the-highway guy in terms of game-calling. And, while that may work with some of the pitchers who are not deep thinkers, there are others who need to feel involved in the pitch selection process.

    Somehow, Joe Girardi and/or Tony Pena needs to find a way to work this out – because the Yankees are a better team when Posada’s bat is in the line-up as their catcher.

    June 2009 Survey Question #3

    Posted by on June 16th, 2009 · Comments (9)

    Please consider taking the following poll:

    {democracy:63}

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

    Girardi & Cone On Yanks Season To Date

    Posted by on June 16th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    Via SNY’s Geico SportsNite yesterday, Joe Girardi and David Cone talk about the season so far. Here’s the clip:

    Do you agree with what they’re saying?

    Yanks Sign Griffin Bailey

    Posted by on June 15th, 2009 · Comments (2)

    Via Our Sports Central

    The American Association of Independent Professional Baseball announced today that The New York Yankees have purchased the contract of Sioux City Explorers RHP Griffin Bailey. Bailey will report to the Yankees Single A affiliate, Staten Island in the NY-Penn League.

    Bailey, 24, appeared in seven games with the Explorers this season and went 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 17 1/3 innings of work. In his seven appearances, Bailey struck out 15 batters and allowed eight walks while holding opponents to a .246 batting average.

    The Explorers acquired Bailey prior to the 2009 season in a trade with the Southern Illinois Miners of the Frontier League. The resident of Lexington, KY was a member of the Miners for two seasons and posted a 5-5 record with a 2.79 ERA last season. Prior to joining the Miners in 2007, Bailey was in the Houston Astros organization pitching for Greeneville of the Appalachian League.

    I don’t get this one at all. You need to fill roster spots on your short-season A-Ball team with 24-year olds that you take out of the Indy Leagues?

    Both Bailey and Brian Cashman are from Lexington, Kentucky. Maybe there’s some connection there…like Bailey is married to one of Cashman’s cousins or something?

    Really, I understand the concept around the need for organizational filler in the minor leagues. But, if you’re going to plug a roster spot in Staten Island, shouldn’t the guy at least be younger than Phil Hughes and Francisco Cervelli?

    Gotta Be The Shoes?

    Posted by on June 15th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    Via the WSJ

    Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang is on his way to Michael Jordan-status. Despite allowing an astounding 1.59 runs per inning-pitched this season, the right-hander recently helped design his own shoe. It’ll have baseball-like stitches and Mr. Wang’s jersey number, 40, on the inner-tongue. But here’s the problem: the righty’s struggles could lead to a demotion to the minors. The shoe should be released in Taiwan — where he was born — in early July. If Mr. Wang’s numbers don’t improve, he might not be in the Majors by then.

    Well, if Mr. October can have Reggie Bars, Rick Cerone can have “10” Jeans, Scooter can have the Money Store, Joltin’ Joe can have Mr. Coffee, Thurm Munson can have Aqua Velva, and Derek Jeter can sell anything under the sun…then, why can’t the Wanger pitch some kicks?

    Then again, I can just hear the jokes now…if you buy a pair of Chien-Ming Wang sneakers, for no additional charge, you’ll also get a recording of Brian Cashman telling you not to workout your legs and risk the chance of suffering a recurrence of a lisfranc problem.

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 6/15/09

    Posted by on June 15th, 2009 · Comments (7)

    Click here for more information about this entry.

    New Yank Stadium Hurting Hometown Hurlers?

    Posted by on June 15th, 2009 · Comments (8)

    Below are the BA/OBP/SLG lines allowed by A.L. teams this season, to date, when pitching on the road:

    Team	 BA	 OBP	 SLG	 OPS
    BAL	.287	.367	.494	.861
    CLE	.273	.355	.463	.818
    TOR	.271	.334	.451	.786
    TBR	.262	.341	.439	.780
    OAK	.270	.347	.431	.778
    BOS	.271	.348	.426	.774
    Lge Avg	.265	.342	.432	.774
    LAA	.272	.347	.422	.769
    CHW	.269	.341	.425	.766
    DET	.268	.339	.426	.766
    MIN	.254	.328	.437	.765
    NYY	.249	.336	.425	.761
    TEX	.258	.337	.414	.751
    SEA	.261	.338	.408	.746
    KCR	.245	.328	.389	.717
    

    I decided to look at this split to take “the new Yankee Stadium” effect out of the picture for the Yankees pitchers – to see how they do when not playing in Lonn Trost’s Homer Haven. Now, granted, these stats, for team’s other than the Yankees, DO INCLUDE road games that those teams have pitched in “the new Yankee Stadium.” But, on the whole, that’s not a lot of games for these teams – so far this season.

    I was surprised to see how well the Yankees have done this year, to date, in terms of OPS allowed on the road. New York is pretty close to being second best in the league here. Seeing this, if I were a Yankees pitcher, I think I would be somewhat upset about what the new ballpark in the Bronx is doing to my numbers.

    Breaking Down The Yankees Season So Far, HTH Style

    Posted by on June 15th, 2009 · Comments (1)
    Opp	W	L	RS/G	RA/G	DIFF
    BOS	0	8	3.9	6.9	-3.0
    CLE	5	3	5.1	6.6	-1.5
    PHI	1	2	3.7	5.0	-1.3
    TBR	4	4	5.1	5.9	-0.8
    LAA	2	1	7.0	7.0	0.0
    TOR	2	1	4.0	3.0	1.0
    MIN	4	0	5.3	4.0	1.3
    OAK	2	0	7.0	5.0	2.0
    KCR	2	1	4.7	2.7	2.0
    BAL	6	3	6.9	4.8	2.1
    DET	2	1	7.0	3.3	3.7
    TEX	4	2	7.5	3.8	3.7
    NYM	2	1	8.7	4.7	4.0
    

    The above is a breakdown of the Yankees season so far, in terms of who they have played, how they did with wins and losses (W and L) as well as runs scored and allowed per game (RS/G and RA/G).

    It’s interesting to see how the Red Sox have beat up on the Yankees and the Yankees have beat up on the Tigers, Rangers and Mets. It’s also interesting to see, in terms of a difference (DIFF) between RS/G and RA/G, how close the Yankees were to the Indians, Phillies, Rays, Angels, Blue Jays and Twins – yet, they’ve gone 18-11 against those teams. New York played .620 baseball there. Now, most of that is the 4-0 record against the Twins. And, if you take that out, then New York is 14-11 in those close scoring match-ups…a record closer to what you expect.

    How about you, what do you find interesting about these statistics?

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