• “Die Hard Index” Determines Baseball’s Best Fans?

    Posted by on April 30th, 2010 · Comments (3)

    Are Mets fans more ‘die-hard’ than Yankees fans? Well, I suppose they’ve had more to die over…

    Click here to see more on this interesting study and its pretty chart.

    She Broke My Heart With Just Five Little Words

    Posted by on April 30th, 2010 · Comments (9)

    I’ve mentioned recently that this the first year that my kids have played Little League. For my son, 6, it really hasn’t been an issue – since he’s playing T-Ball and he more than has the skills to handle that. But, for my daughter, 8, it’s been a bit of a challenge since she’s never done anything like this before and is playing against (and with) girls who have more experience and who are sometimes older.

    Actually, in terms of understanding the game, and its basic rules, my daughter is way ahead of my son. She knows the positions on the field and understands the concept of an inning, etc. She can watch a game and tell you who is winning, how many outs there are, etc.

    He’s just doing what he’s told on the field and hacking away at the plate – having fun, etc. – which is what T-Ball is all about, for the most part.

    My daughter is playing “Rookie Girls Softball” where the coaches do the pitching during the games. And, four games into her season, she’s still somewhat confused at the plate.

    So, today, before her practice with the team this evening, I decided to spend some time with her – breaking down her swing and addressing areas where she has room for improvement. Specifically, this is using a balanced and workable stance, having a proper grip, using a fluid and tension free swing, and ensuring lead-arm extension. If she could learn to master these four simple things, and use better selection on when to swing, it would make a great difference in her success and overall Little League experience.

    We talked about this for maybe ten minutes…taking some practice swings, indoors, to try and get some of this down for her before her practice…and…then…she said it.

    She looked at me and offered these five simple words: “O.K., can I go now?”

    Ouch. I’ve now become the dad who tortures his kid with baseball instruction. Talk about hitting a low point…

    One Month In, Austin Jackson Out-Performing Curtis Granderson

    Posted by on April 30th, 2010 · Comments (26)

    The numbers don’t lie – “regular” A.L. CF this season, to date, ranked by OPS+:

    Rk Player OPS+ Year Age Tm G PA R HR RBI BB SO SB BA OBP SLG OPS
    1 Vernon Wells 187 2010 31 TOR 23 97 18 7 14 8 16 1 .318 .381 .682 1.063
    2 Franklin Gutierrez 151 2010 27 SEA 22 93 9 2 13 8 18 2 .345 .398 .512 .910
    3 Torii Hunter 137 2010 34 LAA 22 93 12 2 10 9 15 3 .309 .376 .506 .883
    4 B.J. Upton 132 2010 25 TBR 22 91 18 4 15 11 17 5 .275 .363 .500 .863
    5 Austin Jackson 131 2010 23 DET 22 104 18 1 7 10 32 4 .330 .394 .468 .862
    6 Alexis Rios 108 2010 29 CHW 21 85 10 3 9 6 12 8 .266 .318 .468 .786
    7 Curtis Granderson 94 2010 29 NYY 21 84 10 2 7 9 16 4 .230 .313 .392 .705
    8 Denard Span 76 2010 26 MIN 22 106 12 0 8 16 13 5 .221 .346 .291 .637
    9 Grady Sizemore 59 2010 27 CLE 19 82 9 0 8 6 17 2 .192 .268 .301 .570
    10 Adam Jones 59 2010 24 BAL 22 101 7 3 5 2 22 1 .204 .228 .367 .595
    11 Rajai Davis 50 2010 29 OAK 22 87 14 1 8 4 17 9 .220 .264 .280 .545
    12 Julio Borbon 26 2010 24 TEX 18 71 8 0 7 1 12 4 .194 .217 .254 .471
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 4/30/2010.

    But, of course, it’s incredibly early and one month does not a season make…

    Men At Work: The Craft Of Baseball

    Posted by on April 30th, 2010 · Comments (0)

    When it was first released, back in 1990, George Will’s “Men At Work” was number one on the list of the New York Times Non-Fiction Best Sellers for nine consecutive weeks immediately after its publication. At that time, it was one of the best-selling baseball books since Jim Bouton’s Ball Four (in 1970).

    Now that it’s been 20 years since “Men At Work” was first published, Harper Paperback has recently released a new edition (with a new intro from Will).

    Back in the day, the Chicago Tribune reviewed “Men At Work” and called it “the best baseball book of the ’90′s.”

    I’ve been reading the new release and it truly is an intelligent book. And, while it was a great read 20 years ago, now it’s an even more fascinating read to go through it, today, with the benefit of a retrospective view.

    If you read “Men At Work” twenty years ago, I recommend checking out this new release. You’ll enjoy it just as much now as you did the first time – maybe more. It’s a nostalgic treat. And, if you’ve never read “Men At Work,” then I highly recommend this new release – it’s as bright a baseball book as you could ever find.

    Praise For Yankee Farmhand Jose Ramirez

    Posted by on April 30th, 2010 · Comments (9)

    In this week’s edition of the “Prospect Hot Sheet“, Baseball America places Charleston (low-A) RHP Jose Ramirez on “helium watch” as a player that can expect to receive more attention in the coming weeks.

    For those of you that might be unfamilar with Ramirez, Baseball America’s write-up says:

    Ramirez has a 1.93 ERA in 23 1/3 innings and a 29-6 K-BB mark for low Class A Charleston. Ramirez, 20, does it with a plus fastball that can reach the mid-90s, a plus changeup and the ability to pound the strike zone. That should be enough for Ramirez to cruise through the low minors, though he will still need to bring his breaking ball up to par as he moves up the ladder.

    I love it when the Yanks find talent via international free agency!  Props to Cashman and his team of international scouts.

    Graig Nettles, April 1974

    Posted by on April 30th, 2010 · Comments (3)

    Watching the White Sox Paul Konerko launch all these April homeruns (10, to date) in his contract “walk” year may remind some of the last player to hit a record number of April homeruns as he was about to become a Free Agent. (That player would be Alex Rodriguez who hit 14 April homers in 2007.)

    But, for me, it makes me think back to what the Yankees Graig Nettles did in April 1974. Here’s a May 3, 1974 Associated Press report on that:

    The freaking thing here? Nettles only went on to hit another 11 homeruns, all season, in 1974. In fact, from April 29th to July 4th of that season, “Puff” only hit one homerun in a span of 51 games played (by him).

    Also, from July 6th that season, to September 6th, Nettles hit just two homers in a span of 55 games played (by him).

    Imagine what the New York media would do to a guy today if that happened?

    Thanks

    Posted by on April 30th, 2010 · Comments (0)

    In terms of “Page Views,” April 2010 has been the busiest “traffic” month at this blog since October 2009. In fact, April 2010 is the second highest “Page View” month here (next to October 2009) in the last 11 months.

    Just wanted to say thanks to all those who have an interest in what’s happening here and/or who enjoy this blog – for your part in making this happen.

    If there’s one thing that I’m most proud of these days, regarding this blog, it’s the WasWatching.com online community that’s resulted from it. You all are the best! Thanks again.

    And, of course, if anyone desires to make another form of support towards this blog, that’s always appreciated as well.

    Ian Kennedy’s 1st 5 Starts Since Leaving The Yankees

    Posted by on April 30th, 2010 · Comments (5)

    Looks like I.P. Smirk is holding his own, so far, in Curt Schilling’s easier league, huh? Here are his game results, with the D-backs this season, to date:

    Rk Date Tm   Opp IP H R ER BB SO HR BF Pit Str
    1 Apr 7 ARI   SDP 5.0 6 3 3 0 8 1 22 94 64
    2 Apr 13 ARI @ LAD 4.1 6 6 6 3 2 3 22 100 56
    3 Apr 18 ARI @ SDP 5.0 2 0 0 3 7 0 20 102 58
    4 Apr 24 ARI   PHI 8.0 4 2 2 1 4 2 29 111 72
    5 Apr 29 ARI @ CHC 8.0 6 5 4 1 6 1 32 110 70
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 4/30/2010.

    .
    Bascially, it’s just been one bad start – against Torre’s Dodgers – that have hurt his overall numbers.

    Remembering Eddie Lee Whitson

    Posted by on April 30th, 2010 · Comments (5)

    Ian O’Connor catches up with Ed Whitson -

    Ed Whitson will talk about the booing, the hate mail, the death threats, and what Javier Vazquez needs to do at Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon, but first he would like to share a piece of trivia about his turbulent stay in New York.

    Every time an athlete struggles to cope with the brightest lights of the biggest city, Whitson’s name is summoned by default.

    Drop a critical World Series ball, and you’re Bill Buckner. Miss a critical Super Bowl kick, and you’re Scott Norwood. Blow a 3-foot putt on a Masters Sunday, and you’re Greg Norman.

    Let the jeering Yankee Stadium masses rattle you out of your pinstripes, and you’re Eddie Lee Whitson.

    “It’s like working in an office and your boss comes in and says, ‘You suck,’ after you’ve tried your best,” Whitson said. “Now multiply that by 50,000 bosses, all of them telling you that you suck, and imagine what that feels like.

    “You feel like everybody’s against you, and sometimes you just want to quit. But you can’t ever quit.”

    “I was in awe of being in Yankee Stadium and the big city,” Whitson said. “Some people can handle it, and some people can’t. … You dream about pitching in Yankee Stadium as a kid, but it can be pretty overwhelming for a guy coming out of a small hometown and smaller media markets. I was so excited, I tried to overthrow everything.”

    Finally, with his world collapsing around him, with the June 11, 1985, crowd booing him on introduction, Whitson decided enough was enough.

    “I wasn’t going to put myself under that pressure anymore,” he recalled. “I said to myself, ‘The hell with it. I’m just going to throw it, and wherever it goes it goes.’”

    Steinbrenner traded Whitson and his 5-2 record back to the Padres in July, traded the pitcher back to a quieter, saner culture and his favorite fishing spot on Lake Poway.

    “George is a great human being,” Whitson said. “He never once said a bad word about me, and he honored every single thing he told me he’d do.”

    There’s no sabermetric measure to capture what goes on in a guy’s head. It’s not listed on his Strat-O-Matic card. And, the mental/emotional side of baseball is huge.

    Life is easy when you’re living a dream. It’s not easy, at all, when you’re caught in a nightmare.

    Joe P Kills It

    Posted by on April 29th, 2010 · Comments (21)

    The Joe in this case is Posnanski, and what he nails is a defense of A-Rod.

    Now, there’s been a lot of talk about A-Rod in these parts, and elsewhere, but Posnanski diagnoses the why pretty accurately I think.

    … A-Rod may be singular in our sports scene. Everybody else has rabid defenders. If you take a moment to bash Bob Knight … or Tiger Woods … or Tony La Russa … or Derek Jeter … or Terrell Owens … or Kobe Bryant … or Ben Roethlisberger … or Michael Vick … … or Peyton Manning … or Tim Tebow … or Phil Mickelson … or Randy Moss … or Roger Clemens … or John Calipari … or Roy Williams … or Barry Bonds … or just about any other athlete or coach who might spark negative views (even if is is because they are so positively portrayed), there will likely be a swam or people who will tell you (with gusto) that you are wrong. There are a lot of people who believe John Rocker was misunderstood.

    But you more or less can bash A-Rod with impunity. Few will disagree. Not many believe him misunderstood…

    Posnanski goes on to discuss how any anti-Rod argument just concedes the numbers and his objective greatness and then jumps into Braden-gate to dismiss it as a rookie being obnoxious because he can get away with it.

    . . . it seems to me the key factory here is: It’s A-Rod. And all that entails. I mean, let’s face it … if that was Albert Pujols running across the mound, and that was a pitcher who has accomplished as much as Dallas Braden griping about it — say Anibal Sanchez or someone — it seems to be there would be a whole lot of “Shut your fat face, kid,” talk going on across the country.

    But it’s not Pujols. It’s A-Rod. And because it’s A-Rod, there are suddenly a lot of people saying: “Yeah, you can’t just run across the mound — everybody knows that!” Because it’s A-Rod there are people admiring Dallas Braden for standing up to the big bully who dared stomp on his new carpet. Because it’s A-Rod, the story is lively and the coverage is intense and the opinion seems to be at least leaning Dallas Braden’s way. Hey look: Another reason to despise A-Rod! Dallas Braden got it right in this way. In this world of ours, you can’t go wrong standing against taxes, the declining levels of our schools and Alex Rodriguez.

    In that way, he’s absolutely right – most of us had never heard of this unwritten rule that A-Rod violated, but we have the Tracy Ringloby’s of the world declaring him evil.

    A-Rod’s tact lately has, for the most part, been “shut up and play.” Maybe its time for the rest of us to shut up and watch.

    April 29th @ The Orioles

    Posted by on April 29th, 2010 · Comments (13)

    Seems like every time I write one of these there is a fantastic pitching performance and Cano is mashing.

    I’ll start with Burnett. Aside from the 6th inning (and he got out of that 1st and 2nd 1 out jam rather nicely), Burnett flat out dominated the Orioles through 8 frames. The Orioles looked completely helpless at the plate as Burnett allowed just 4 baserunners. Burnett’s fastball location was completely spot on in this one and made a huge impact. Perhaps the best I’ve seen from him in fact. If AJ, CC and Andy continue to pitch like this, it’s going to be a fun summer.

    How about Marcus Thames? He keeps finding holes with bloopers and blasting shots off the wall against lefties. He’s pretty much gone from hitting nothing to nothing but hitting between March and April. If he could somehow maintain a shadow of his current performance throughout the year, he will be a pretty good tool off the bench for Joe Girardi. If Thames leaves his mitt at home, that is.

    As Kim Jones noted shortly after the game, this is the Cano show. Cano had 2 lazer shots over the fence in right, and he looks as locked in as ever. After tonights game, he is now OPSing a Pujolsian 1.235 with 8 homers and 17 RBI. This month could possibly be the very best of his career (along with September 2006 where he OPSed 1.053 with 7 homers and 28 ribbies).

    Can you imagine if Tex and A-Rod started hitting now with Cano smoldering at the plate?

    April 2010 Survey Question #3

    Posted by on April 29th, 2010 · Comments (2)

    Please consider taking the following poll:

    {democracy:99}

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

    John Gochnauer

    Posted by on April 29th, 2010 · Comments (0)

    I can’t believe that they mentioned John Gochnauer on Bones tonight.

    Would it have killed them to go with a 1912 version of Ezra “Salt Rock” Midkiff instead?

    Yeah, I know…Gochnauer was worse…but…I was hoping for a Yankees connection, of course…

    The Chicken Is Most-Liked Sports Mascot

    Posted by on April 29th, 2010 · Comments (5)

    No, not Fred Stanley…

    Via the AP

    Plucked from among all sports mascots, San Diego’s Chicken still rules the roost.

    The Chicken ranks first in Forbes magazine’s survey of 10 most-liked sports mascots. Ted Giannoulas, the man inside the costume, no longer is affiliated with the Padres, but has a 78.7 awareness in the rankings.

    Trailing the Chicken are the Phillie Phanatic; Mr. Met; the Racing Sausages of the Milwaukee Brewers; The Gorilla of the Phoenix Suns; Benny the Bull of Chicago; Wally the Green Monster, who represents the Red Sox; Billy the Marlin; Rocky of the Denver Nuggets; and The Coyote of the San Antonio Spurs.

    Forbes polled the public on awareness, appeal and team recognition of more than 50 major sports team mascots.

    Attaboy Ted!

    Ringolsby: A-Rod Poster Boy For Erosion Of Respect In The Game

    Posted by on April 29th, 2010 · Comments (27)

    Tracy Ringolsby rips into A-Rod. Here are some of the highlights of what he had to say:

    Maybe it was an inadvertent misstep that led President Obama to fail to mention Alex Rodriguez’s name during the Yankees visit to the White House on Monday — or maybe the teleprompter just skipped a page — but if Rodriguez wants to be respected, the best advice he can be given is to learn to respect others.

    This is the guy, remember, who had it leak out in the midst of the 2007 World Series that he was going to exercise the option to void what remained of his contract with the Yankees (which led to his new deal).

    Not that it would matter to Rodriguez. He lives in his own little world, and he is oblivious to anyone else. After Rodriguez’s recent misadventure of running over the pitcher’s mound in Oakland on his way back to first base from third base on a foul ball — which Rodriguez claimed he didn’t realize was a misstep — maybe it would be wise to give him a refresher course on some baseball no-nos.

    Rodriguez’s act of arrogance in Oakland wasn’t his first ( and most likely won’t be his last) inability to show respect to the game and its participants.

    Among other things, there was that May 30, 2007 game in Toronto when Rodriguez, on second with two outs, is alleged to have yelled “Mine,” prompting Toronto third baseman Howie Clark to step back from underneath the ball, allowing it to drop and permitting a run to score.

    And there was that moment in the 2004 ALCS against Boston when Rodriguez slapped at Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo’s glove as he ran to first base, knocking the ball free. Rodriguez advanced to second — while the Red Sox protested — only to eventually be called out.

    “I thought it was a brilliant play and we almost got away with it,” Rodriguez said.

    Ouch.

    For those not aware, Ringolsby has written extensively for 30 years about baseball and was elected the 2005 winner of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award.

    Ike & Godzilla

    Posted by on April 29th, 2010 · Comments (4)

    Via ESPN

    The Mets defeated the Dodgers Wednesday to finish their homestand with a 9-1 record. That ties the Mets best record on any homestand of seven or more games. They also had 9-1 homestands in September 1988 and August 1969. The Mets 9-1 homestand coincides with Ike Davis’ first 10 games in the major leagues. The only other active non-pitcher who started and won nine of his first 10 games in the major leagues is Hideki Matsui, for the 2003 Yankees.

    Well, if a Met had to tie a Yankee for a record, at least it was the son of a former Yankee who did it…

    Turning The Page

    Posted by on April 29th, 2010 · Comments (11)

    Flipping my calendar over to May – yes, I always get a head-start on that task – I just realized that, in the 15 day span between May 2nd and May 16th, I’ll be attending three professional baseball games – two Yankees games and one BlueClaws game. (I say “professional” because I’m not including the six Little League games that my kids have scheduled as well during those two weeks.)

    Finally, it’s starting to feel like baseball season to me. Better late than never, huh?

    Yankees May 2010 Monthly Win Expectancy

    Posted by on April 29th, 2010 · Comments (7)

    For more on what this is, click here.

    For the month of May 2010, the New York Yankees should win 17 games and lose 12 games – all things considered, and being reasonable about it.

    That would be .586 baseball for the month – which is the win rate I expect the Yankees to have overall this season.

    Yes, sure, there are some tough teams on the Yankees ledger for May. But, there are also a lot of home games in May too. And, they should take advantage of that…when they can…

    April 28th @ The Orioles

    Posted by on April 29th, 2010 · Comments (7)

    Childish riddle: What’s tall, burly and kills losing streaks?  CC Sabathia!

    After yesterday’s mildly dispiriting loss, the Yanks needed to find a punching bag to let all their pent-up frustrations out.  Fortunately, that punching bag came in the form of Jeremy Guthrie, a guy the Yanks have battered over the years (74.1 IP, 5.21 ERA, 1.69 HR/9).  The result was a satisfying 8-3 victory. 

    The Good:

    • Nick Swisher’s impressive road trip continues after posting his second consecutive three-hit night.  Overall on the trip, he’s batting .407/.448/.667 to go with 7 RBI in 7 games;
    • Robinson Cano has matched Swisher hit for hit.  After a 2-for-5 night last night, including hitting his team leading 6th HR of the season, Robbie goes into tonight’s game with a road trip line of .400/.475/.629, 5 RBI and 8 runs scored;
    • WHAT?!  Did I see Nick Johnson actually get a hit, take an extra base on a throwing error and then score on A-Rod’s sacrifice fly in the top of the first inning last night?  Whoa, imagine that, a designated hitter that actually got a hit.  Sarcasm aside, it was only his second hit since April 14th so anything good is a step in the right direction; and
    • CC earning an extra portion at the post-game spread with his bullpen-saving (and losing streak squashing) performance last night.  No, he wasn’t crisp, scattering 13 Orioles baserunners (11 hits/2 walks) over 7.2 IP.  But who needs crisp when you can pitch into the 8th inning of a game on only 111 pitches?  By contrast, it took Hughes 109 pitches to record six fewer outs last night.  That’s why they pay Sabathia the big bucks.

    The Bad:

    • Every Yankee recorded a hit last night except for A-Rod.  Whereas I though he was looking locked in at the start of the road trip — remember that mammoth blast against Oakland last Tuesday? — he’s looked off the last few days.  Sure, Alex hit a few balls hard the past two nights but he’s also looked jumpy at the plate, specifically in the last AB of Tuesday’s game where he recorded an out on the first pitch; and
    • Jorge Posada had to be removed from last night’s game after being hit by a pitch on his right knee by Jeremy Guthrie.  Although Frankie Cervelli filled in admirably (2-for-4, 1 RBI), the Yanks should hope that Posada’s knee heals quickly.  Hopefully Jorge’s back in the lineup by this weekend.  In the meantime, will the Yanks make a roster move to bring up a backup catcher for tonight’s game?

    The Yanks go for the series win tonight, with AJ Burnett (2-0, 3.20 ERA) facing off against lefty phenom Brian Matusz (2-0, 4.38 ERA, 9.9 K/9).  A win this evening would give the Yanks a very nice 6-3 record against AL East opponents.

    WSJ Top Ten Yankees

    Posted by on April 29th, 2010 · Comments (1)

    Russell Adams at the WSJ takes a look at the Who Is the Greatest Yankee? It’s an interesting top ten that they’ve put together there…especially at the bottom end.

    Byrd Is The Word

    Posted by on April 28th, 2010 · Comments (2)

    Talk about having it in your hip pocket

    Synthpop Sensation

    Posted by on April 28th, 2010 · Comments (0)

    Can’t help but think of the 1980′s club sound every time I hear this one…

    Sort of like Paul Lekakis meets Bronski Beat meets Yazoo…

    (more…)

    Greatest/Favorite Yankees Tournament – Championship Round – Results

    Posted by on April 28th, 2010 · Comments (0)

    Here is the winner – in bold:

    Babe Ruth 81.6%
    Mickey Mantle 18.4%

    The Big Bam is still the man…after all these years.

    Here is how it all went down – click on the image to enlarge it:

    Thanks to all who voted in the surveys. Hope you enjoyed it!

    Odo Be An American Idol Judge

    Posted by on April 28th, 2010 · Comments (0)

    Separated at birth?

    Damon Gets Series Ring In The Mail

    Posted by on April 28th, 2010 · Comments (9)

    Via George King

    Johnny Damon couldn’t wait to get his hands on his Yankees World Series ring, so he won’t get mobbed by his former teammates on the field like Hideki Matsui, Chad Gaudin and Edwar Ramirez did recently after receiving theirs.

    “I talked to Johnny in spring training about the ring and he said, ‘Can you just mail it? I can’t wait,’” Brian Cashman said today.

    The Yankees play the Tigers — Damon’s new team — in Detroit starting May 10, but the left fielder couldn’t hold out till then.

    “He didn’t want to wait,” Cashman said. “He said, ‘I want it as soon as possible.’”

    Damon got his second World Series ring (he has one from the 2004 Red Sox) in the mail recently.

    “I got it last week,’’ Damon told The Post. “It’s nice.’’

    Wow. Damon couldn’t wait another two weeks? Seems strange. He really wanted to see that ring…I suppose.

    I still hope the Yankees do something for him when the Tigers visit. It only seems right.

    Rays Feasting On Weak Teams So Far?

    Posted by on April 28th, 2010 · Comments (9)

    A.L. Teams, to date, this season, when facing a team with a W% <= .400

    Rk Tm Year G 6 L W-L% RS RA pythW-L%
    1 TOR 2010 10 7 3 .700 49 40 .592
    2 TBR 2010 9 7 2 .778 57 25 .819
    3 MIN 2010 9 6 3 .667 51 41 .599
    4 CLE 2010 6 5 1 .833 26 20 .618
    5 SEA 2010 8 4 4 .500 31 24 .615
    6 BOS 2010 6 4 2 .667 36 29 .598
    7 DET 2010 6 3 3 .500 31 32 .485
    8 OAK 2010 4 3 1 .750 17 15 .557
    9 TEX 2010 1 1 0 1.000 4 2 .780
    10 NYY 2010 1 0 1 .000 4 5 .399
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 4/28/2010.

    .

    Of course, the Rays are also 8-3 in their other games too…

    In any event, let’s hope the Yankees can do the same when they have the opportunity to do so…meaning make some hay when they’re playing against the underbelly of the league…

    April 27th @ The Orioles

    Posted by on April 28th, 2010 · Comments (18)

    Well, it was bound to happen.  The Yanks were bound to lose a game where they looked downright unprofessional out there.  I suppose one could take heart in the fact that they fought until the very last out.  By getting the tying run (Brett Gardner) all the way to third base, the Yanks certainly gave themselves a chance to win it, even if they eventually came up one run short and lost by a score of 5-4.  If only A-Rod had been a tad more patient and seen a more hittable pitch…

    The Good:

    • Robbie Cano (3-for-4; 12 for 23 over the past 6 games).  He looked locked in tonight, slashing three singles and going the other way on his final hit of the evening.  There are few things as dangerous to opposing pitchers than a streaking Cano hitting to all fields;
    • Nick Swisher (3-for-4, 2 runs scored; 7 for 18 over the past 5 games).  It’s nice to see Nick heating up a bit, especially as some of the Yanks’ other hitters begin to cool off;
    • Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson’s defensive prowess was on full display tonight.  They both ran down some hard-hit balls and generally commanded LF and CF like pros; and
    • Phil Hughes finding a way to battle and stay in the game on a night where he clearly didn’t have his best stuff working for him.  The sign of a maturing pitcher is one that shakes off a bad inning, hangs around and keeps his team in the ballgame.

    The Bad:

    • Phil Hughes, having nothing tonight.  While it’s only one start, it was certainly not a welcome sight to see him regressing back to the enigmatic starter he was in early 2008 just five days after thoroughly dominating the A’s for nearly 8 innings;
    • Dave Robertson and Boone Logan pretty much destroyed the game in the 6th inning.  There is nothing — and I mean nothing — more infuriating than bringing in a LOOGY and then watching him walk the only man he was responsible for.  The fine gents over at RAB actually did a write-up of Logan earlier today although I’ll have to respectfully disagree with their findings given that he has yet to pitch a clean inning in his three appearances thus far.  As for Robertson, RAB wrote up a piece on Girardi’s inconsistent usage of Robertson thus far in 2010 and, again, I’ll have to respectfully disagree as Robertson, too, has been spotty and somewhat unreliable thus far.  At least with Robertson we know there is hope for better days.  Logan?  I’m not so sure;
    • Another game, another boneheaded move (or two) from the team’s unofficial captain, Jorge Posada.  When he’s not falling asleep behind the plate or letting catchable (or blockable) pitches fly by him, he’s sailing throws into the outfield or running the bases like a nervous rookie; and
    • The team’s overall defense was poor this evening.  From Randy Winn’s “Damonesque” pop-gun throw, to Jeter’s 6th inning error, to A-Rod somehow letting a ball get by him that was millimeters from his glove, to the aforementioned throwing error by Posada, it was not the team’s best night in the field.

    The Yanks are 12-7 and have now lost four out of their last five games (thanks for pointing that out, Evan3457).  No biggie…but tonight’s game had all the charm of a sloppy mid-August contest where mental lapses cost the team what should have been an easy W.

    A-Rod? What About Tex?

    Posted by on April 27th, 2010 · Comments (4)

    Earlier today, Steve Lombardi posted a comparison between the Yankees and Phillies top salaried players, Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Howard. While A-Rod and Howard are similar in terms of contract and power at the plate, I’ve got a more accurate comp in Mark Teixeira.

    They both play first, and they both hit in the heart of their respective orders. Also, they both started their current long term deal in 2009, in their age 29 season. They also have very similar contracts:

    Mark Teixeira
    2009: $20 million – Age 29
    2010: $20 million – Age 30
    2011: $22.5 million – Age 31
    2012: $22.5 million – Age 32
    2013: $22.5 million – Age 33
    2014: $22.5 million – Age 34
    2015: $22.5 million – Age 35
    2016: $22.5 million – Age 36
    Total: $180MM including a $5MM signing bonus

    Ryan Howard
    2009: $15 million – Age 29
    2010: $19 million – Age 30
    2011: $20 million – Age 31
    2012: $20 million – Age 32
    2013: $20 million – Age 33
    2014: $25 million – Age 34
    2015: $25 million – Age 35
    2016: $25 million – Age 36
    (Howard also has a $23MM club option for 2017 or $10MM buyout)
    Total: $179MM at least.

    Now, if you break it down this way, you could say hey, maybe the Yanks didn’t overpay with the Tex signing. Or, you could say wow the Phillies overpaid, here. Me? I’d gladly pay an extra million dollars for Tex, how about you?

    Verducci With The Core Four

    Posted by on April 27th, 2010 · Comments (1)

    Tom Verducci got the Core Four to sit down for lunch and answer a few questions. Here’s one of my fav’s from the session:

    SI: You guys took a picture together after the last game at Yankee Stadium in 2008. Do you guys do that every year?

    Posada: Yeah, it’s Andy’s idea.

    Rivera: Yeah, and it’s great because you don’t know how long we’re going to be together.

    Jeter: We’ve done it other years because we did it when Bernie [Williams, another homegrown Yankee who played for New York from 1991 through 2006] was there, too, right?

    Posada: We’ve done it since ’03 because Andy’s been retiring since ’03.

    Pettitte: I started it that year because I didn’t know what was going to happen. Just kind of uncertain about what the year was going to bring. Because I knew the Yankees knew that my elbow had been bothering me for a long time and I just never knew what was going to happen, so I wanted a shot of all us together in ’03. And we’ve been doing it ever since.

    Maybe Michael, Livesey and Lukevics should insist on getting into that next photo session too?

    Posada Ranks Yankees Pitchers He’s Caught

    Posted by on April 27th, 2010 · Comments (9)

    Tim Brown has the feature. It’s a good read.

    Some highlights -

    Best fastball – Kyle Farnsworth or Scott Proctor
    Best curveball – Hideki Irabu
    Best slider – Joba Chamberlain

    I guess that speaks volumes towards pitching not being all about “stuff.”

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