• 40 Years Ago In Yankeeland

    Posted by on May 27th, 2010 · Comments (7)

    Dig the Yankees starting line-up, 40 years ago from today:

    Player           Pos
    1 Horace Clarke   2B  
    2 Jerry Kenney    3B  
    3 Bobby Murcer    CF  
    4 Roy White       LF  
    5 Danny Cater     1B  
    6 Curt Blefary    RF 
    7 Jake Gibbs      C  
    8 Gene Michael    SS  
    9 Fritz Peterson  P  
    

    Yeah, that’s Roye White – as the clean-up hitter.

    I was 7 1/2 years old when that game was played. So, I was oblivious to what was going on in Yankeeland at that time. Must have been something, huh?

    Only Bosox & Phillies Out Draw Yankees

    Posted by on May 27th, 2010 · Comments (2)

    Via Forbes’ Michael Ozanian -

    Baseball fans pour through the turnstiles to see certain teams and avoid others like the plague. The top 5 draws (based on percent of stadium capacity for which tickets were sold for both home and road games) this season have been the Red Sox (87%), Phillies (86%), Yankees (83%), Twins (82%) and Cubs (82%). The bottom five are the Blue Jays (46%), Athletics (48%), Mariners (49%), Royals (50%) and Reds (50%).

    It’s interesting that four of the bottom five are A.L. teams – and three of those four are not in the A.L. East. Betcha those teams wish they got to host Boston and New York more times than they do now…

    WasWatching Meet-Up?

    Posted by on May 27th, 2010 · Comments (18)

    Frequent commenters and FOTBs (friends of the blog) “YankCrank” and “ClintFSU813″ have suggested that we organize an official meet-up in conjunction with Clint’s impending visit to New York for the June 19th and 20th games vs. the Mets.

    Do I have any takers?  Can we get a group together to put faces to pseudonyms?  What say the WW.com faithful?

    Alex, Mo & Tex – What’s Up?

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

    Andrew Marchand writes that Mo Rivera, Mark Teixera and Alex Rodriguez have given some pause for concern this season, so far.

    How about you…are you worried about these players and how they’ve performed this season? Which ones? Why?

    With Marinao, because of his age, I think there always has to be concern about “Is this the end?” And, with A-Rod, it’s the hip thing…of course. Tex? Dunno. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t play well – unless he’s hiding an injury or something?

    May 26th @ The Twins

    Posted by on May 26th, 2010 · Comments (7)

    A doubleheader, but not really.

    Yanks win the first game 1-0 to complete last night’s suspended affair in exciting fashion…and then come back a couple of hours later with a go-ahead run in the 9th inning to take the second game 3-2.

    I’ve been disgusted with the Yanks this past week so I’m easing back into the season with this very short missive.  Use it to talk about the pseudo-doubleheader or use it to talk about how Teixeira stinks in 2010 or how A-Rod’s defense has slipped over the past week.  Or, by all means, use it to gloat that the Yanks just own the Twins for some reason or another.

    In any case, I’ll take a two-game winning streak. It sure beats the garbage this group of 25 put out there last week.

    Cheers.

    Should The Yankees Retire #46?

    Posted by on May 26th, 2010 · Comments (10)

    By the end of this season, Andy Pettitte will become just the third Yankees pitcher to win 200 games while wearing the team’s uniform. In fact, today, only two pitchers (Whitey Ford and Red Ruffing) have won more games with the Yankees than Andy Pettitte.

    Also, by the end of this season, Andy Pettitte will become just the fourth Yankees pitcher to pitch in 2,500 innings while wearing the team’s uniform. The others are Whitey Ford, Red Ruffing, and Mel Stottlemyre.

    In addition, by the end of this season, will become #2 on the Yankees all-time list for career strikeouts (with Whitey Ford being the all-time leader).

    Currently, Andy Pettitte is 3rd on the Yankees all-time list for Games Started by a pitcher. If he makes just 16 more starts this season, Pettitte will become just the second pitcher in Yankees history to make 400 starts for the team – with Whitey Ford being the other.

    Lastly, Andy Pettitte has 18 career post-season wins – 17 of them coming with the Yankees. Those 18 wins is the current major league record for most career wins in the post-season. Pettitte also holds the major league record for most career innings pitched in the post-season (249.0).

    Pettitte is one of the two or three greatest starting pitchers, in terms of career numbers, in Yankees history. And, he’s a post-season legend. How could the Yankees not retire #46 for Andy Pettitte when his career is over?

    I Dunno…Maybe I Need New Glasses?

    Posted by on May 26th, 2010 · Comments (2)

    So, I’m watching the finale of American Idol 2010, this evening, when Siobhan Magnus and Aaron Kelly performed “How deep is your love?” with Barry and Robin Gibb…

    and all I can think is “What are those two kids doing on the stage with Sam Kinison and Andy Dick?”

    Are my eyes going, or, was it something else?

    Then again, when the guys from the Top 12 came out and sang with Hall and Oates, I also thought “What are those dudes doing with Jon Voight and Leonard Hofstadter from Big Bang?”

    Yeah, maybe it’s time for some new specs…

    Yankees Reacquire Chad Gaudin

    Posted by on May 26th, 2010 · Comments (9)

    Look’s like they’ve run out of epidurals to stick in Aceves’s back. Via Mark Feinsand -

    Chad Gaudin was the odd man out this spring following the five-man battle for the No. 5 spot in the rotation, but it appears the righthander will be back in pinstripes by Wednesday night.

    The Yankees agreed to terms to re-sign Gaudin on Wednesday, according to a source, adding him to their bullpen as a long reliever. Gaudin’s arrival may mean that the Yankees received bad news on Alfredo Aceves, who suffered a setback with his injured back on Tuesday and could be headed for surgery to repair a herniated disk.

    According to the source, Gaudin is in Minneapolis, where he’s expected to be activated for Wednesday night’s game. The Yankees and Twins will finish their suspended game Wednesday afternoon, after which the Yankees will make a roster move to make room for Gaudin.

    General manager Brian Cashman was unavailable for comment.

    If contacted, I’m sure Brian Cashman would say: Gaudin, it’s the new Ponson.

    Here Come De Sox?

    Posted by on May 26th, 2010 · Comments (3)

    Via Over The Green Monster

    Following Tuesday night’s series-clinching win at Tropicana Field against baseball’s top team record-wise, the Tampa Bay Rays, Boston has now won seven of their last eight games. An impressive statistic only made more notable by the competition featured on the schedule during this stretch — the New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins, Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays — three of whom are atop their respective divisions with a combined record of 84-50, while the latter [Yankees] currently sit eight games above .500 at 26-18.

    The fuel for this Red Sox resurgence is the exact same grade used by the New York Yankees during their trip to a World Series title in 2009 — as well as that which helped propel the Tampa Bay Rays while they coasted to an early A.L. East division lead here in 2010 — premium starting pitching.

    Gotta admit, running through the Yanks, Twinkies, Phils and Rays ain’t exactly like cutting through chopped liver. So, what do you think? Should the Yankees be just as concerned with Boston coming on as they are with Tampa Bay running away?

    Traveling At A Rate Of 200 Hits Per Season

    Posted by on May 26th, 2010 · Comments (1)

    On this date, May 26th, back in 2006, Derek Jeter got his 2,000th career hit. And, with his hit yesterday in the suspended game, Jeter now sits at one hit over 2,800 for his career…on May 26, 2010.

    Alfredo Aceves Suffers Setback In Return Plans

    Posted by on May 26th, 2010 · Comments (1)

    Via Bryan Hoch

    Yankees right-hander Alfredo Aceves suffered a setback while tossing on Tuesday at the club’s Spring Training complex in Tampa, Fla., and will be sent for further tests.
    Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Aceves completed about six or seven throws on flat ground before feeling discomfort in his lower back, cutting his session short.

    Aceves has been on the 15-day disabled list since May 12 and also missed time during Spring Training with the lower back issue, which he believes to be a bulging disc problem.

    “I thought there was improvement — he was bouncing around better,” Girardi said. “But he felt something. That’s the thing about a back; you never know when it’s going to act up. It’s not what we wanted.”

    Oh, my goodness, it’s really starting to look like El Brujo 2.0

    A-Rod No Longer Lord Of The Big Flies?

    Posted by on May 25th, 2010 · Comments (7)

    Via Bob Klapisch -

    [Alex] Rodriguez has just six HRs in 165 at-bats this season, which works out to one every 27. Since 1998, Rodriguez’ rate has never been higher than 16.7.

    One other damning metric to consider: throughout his career, 23 percent of Rodriguez’ fly balls have cleared the wall. This year, that percentage has dropped to 9.7.

    So what gives? His detractors point to what they consider the obvious culprit. Rodriguez is (finally) off steroids, and thus reduced to the numbers of mere mortals. The slugger says, however, it’s all about timing.

    “I’m seeing the ball well, I’m getting good swings, but I’ve definitely missed some chances to drive the ball,” Rodriguez said the other day. “It’ll come.”

    It’s not just the HRs that have suffered, however. Rodriguez’ slugging percentage is at a 13-year low (.497). It’s still early, of course, and with three-quarters of the season remaining a surge isn’t just possible, it’s likely. But it’s also worth remembering Rodriguez’ stats have been in subtle decline for the last three seasons.

    Ever since his MVP campaign in 2007, A-Rod has experienced drop-offs in batting average, home runs, slugging percentage and OPS. He’ll be 35 in another two months, and while Rodriguez is still capable of unique displays of power — just ask Jonathan Papelbon, who surrendered a ninth-inning HR to Rodriguez a week ago — one talent evaluator said, “I’m sure the Yankees are wondering if Alex is still in his prime or is now in his late prime. There’s a difference.”

    Juan Gonzalez, Carlos Delgado, Albert Belle, Jason Giambi, and Jeff Bagwell were all Cooperstown, or near-Cooperstown, sluggers whose bodies eventually gave out on them…is A-Rod the next one?

    Yes, his hip condition was not an issue last season. And, reportedly, the doctors felt that Alex no longer needed any immediate follow-up repair to it. But, we’re one-quarter into this season now and clearly something is up with A-Rod’s long ball production.

    At this point, it’s only worth watching – and not worrying. But, if it continues into July, then it’s a real problem worth worrying about…

    What To Do With Kevin Russo?

    Posted by on May 25th, 2010 · Comments (2)

    Scott Cacciola recently did a nice feature on Kevin Russo.

    I really like Russo, for some reason, and want to see him do well. But, I suspect, with the Yankees, Russo will be a utility player/super-sub at best. And, Russo’s not getting any younger. So, I’m torn – as part of me wants to see this kid as a Yankee, because I like him; and, the other part of me wants to see him get traded to a team like the Pirates, Astros, Rockies, Cardinals or Padres so that he can play every day, again, because I like him.

    I have little doubt that, if given the chance, Kevin Russo could be a solid defender at second base, bat .280, and be a great #2 hitter, in the major leagues. And, with the Yankees, he’ll never get that chance.

    Cashman On Yanks Woes: ‘Different Things Right Now Going Wrong All At Once’

    Posted by on May 25th, 2010 · Comments (6)

    Ah, the “perfect storm” application…via Peter Botte -

    “We’re just not playing good baseball right now and when you’re playing professional teams you have a chance to lose a number of games,” [Brian] Cashman said Monday. “I think it’s just been a number of different things right now going wrong all at once.

    “Our starting pitching out of the gate, for the month of April, was terrific. The last two turns, they haven’t been as good, and coinciding with a number of injuries and some guys not hitting that are healthy, it’s a lot of different things adding up to us not playing as well as we can play… . April went really well for us, but May obviously hasn’t been as kind.”

    “Am I concerned about (Teixeira)? No. Do we need to get him going, along with other guys? Yeah,” Cashman said. “He’ll hit, it’s just that he’s obviously fighting through it right now. That’s the ebb and flow of the game. He’ll find himself, and when he does, he’ll take off.”

    My thoughts?

    Hey, Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira haven’t done well, so far, this season. And, losing Jorge Posada’s bat hurts. But, overall, Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher have batted well. Brett Gardner wasn’t supposed to be counted on this season – all that much. So, he’s out of the picture. And, this brings us to Curtis Granderson and Nick Johnson – two guys that Cashman brought in, who, to date, have not helped the Yankees. (At least Granderson still has a chance.)

    To date, this season, CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, overall, have been just better than league average. Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes have been great – until lately. Javier Vazquez, who Cashman brought in, despite his last two starts, overall, to this point, has been a bust.

    The Yankees bullpen has experienced ups and downs this season, so far. And, losing Alfredo Aceves has hurt the team. But, two of the worst pitchers in the Yankees pen, so far this season, have been Boone Logan and Chan Ho Park. Again, two guys who Cashman brought in this season. (David Robertson, it should be noted, has been not good so far this season too.)

    If Cashman wants to talk about “things going wrong all at once,” then he should talk about Curtis Granderson, Nick Johnson, Javy Vazquez, Boone Logan and Chan Ho Park. And, while he’s at it, he can talk about another one of his additions this season: Randy Winn. These six players that Cashman brought in this season have all gone wrong at once too, no?

    A.J.’s Contribution: Zang-Fu & Creme Pies?

    Posted by on May 25th, 2010 · Comments (2)

    Via Marc Carig

    Brian Cashman had to be sure.

    The Yankees general manager heard the reports out of Toronto, the ones that said that A.J. Burnett had been reformed. Gone was the pitcher who leaned on raw talent and little else to get by, the one with the nasty streak of a bulldog but the durability of a Ming vase. Inspired by the great Roy Halladay, Burnett had learned the virtue of preparation and thus discovered the key to staying healthy.

    Still, Cashman had questions for Burnett when he became a free agent. So they talked about preparation, about lifting weights, running and throwing between starts, all the mundane work it takes to do the extraordinary. Then, Burnett told Cashman about the thing that he believed had made all the difference: his devotion to acupuncture.

    “Do you guys have something like that?” Burnett asked.

    In the winter of 2008, the Yankees did not. However, with the team still stinging from missing the playoffs and in dire need of high-end arms, Cashman told Burnett he was prepared to change that.

    “It was a promise I made to him,” Cashman said. “Clearly, we want to keep this asset on the field. We want him right.”

    With that, the Yankees closed the book on two signings that shaped the 2009 championship season: Burnett, who helped the Yankees win the World Series; and Gil Chimes, a Connecticut chiropractor and the first acupuncture specialist employed by the Yankees under Cashman’s watch.

    “It’s something that’s part of his routine, his structure, his discipline,” Cashman said. “It’s vital to him and his mind. Therefore it’s vital to us.”

    For what it’s worth, I’ve seen an acupuncturist a few times since 2007. And, at times, I’ve found it to be helpful. So, if this works for Burnett, and some other Yankees, I’m not surprised.

    The Return Of “Pasta Diving Jeter”?

    Posted by on May 25th, 2010 · Comments (1)

    Via Mark Simon

    Over the last two seasons, [Derek] Jeter made significant improvements, making plays on balls hit to the left of where a shortstop typically plays.

    Baseball Info Solutions, which evaluates every batted ball in the majors, based on how often the play results in an out, has Jeter rated as a -7 on balls hit to the left of where a typical shortstop would play.

    Basically, what this means is that Jeter has made seven fewer plays than the average shortstop would have made, on balls hit to the left of where a shortstop would play. Or in simpler terms, Jeter is missing out on some balls that are ending up as base hits to center field.

    That’s shows signs of decline from the previous two seasons in which Jeter was rated -1 (2008) and +2 (2009).

    It should also be noted that Jeter does rate well on balls hit to the right of the typical shortstop (in between Jeter and Alex Rodriguez). His +7 rating on balls hit to his right is, early on, a significant improvement over his -18 (2009) and -3 (2009) ratings the past two years. That means he has improved in cutting off potential base hits to left field.

    Overall, on the plus-minus scale, Jeter entered Monday ranked 24th among major league shortstops (+1). Last season he finished at +6, which ranked 14th.

    So far, it’s not exactly been the best of “contract walk years,” overall, for Jeter, has it? How will this impact the Captain’s next contract? Linclon Mitchell and Craig Calcaterra recently offered some opinion on this topic. Me? There’s little chance the Yankees are going to let Jeter go somewhere else…I suspect. He’ll get his money. The trick will be on the number of years that Derek gets…but…if I had to guess…the shorter the deal the more likely it has some “post-playing career” job offer tied to the contract.

    Yankees What If (?) – Johan Santana

    Posted by on May 24th, 2010 · Comments (5)

    Ian O’Connor looks back at the Yankees call to pass on Johan Santana. A snip -

    No matter how you slice it, the day the Mets traded for [Johan] Santana was the day the Yankees decided not to trade for Santana and to wait for [CC] Sabathia instead.

    Brian Cashman could’ve outbid Omar Minaya if he’d wanted to. He could’ve delivered Minnesota a package of Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera, Ian Kennedy and Jeff Marquez and blown away the Mets’ winning offer of Philip Humber, Carlos Gomez, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra.

    In fact, if George Steinbrenner were still George Steinbrenner in the wintry wake of 2007, Cashman would’ve been ordered to do just that, and to sign off on a six-year, $137.5 million contract to boot.

    Only The Boss wasn’t The Boss anymore when Cashman told the Twins to take their trade and stuff it. The general manager had a healthy respect for Santana’s talent and temperament; Cashman just didn’t want to surrender a small circle of good young players plus pay a zillion bucks on the back end.

    He gambled. He suffered through the Yankees’ first playoff-free season in forever, prayed Sabathia would take to his free-agent pitch and, as a prisoner of human nature, privately hoped Santana didn’t make him look bad in Queens.

    Cashman won the bet, along with a World Series ring. He signed Sabathia, watched Hughes develop into an invaluable reliever-turned-invaluable starter, used Marquez in the deal to get Nick Swisher, and turned Cabrera into Javy Vazquez, who, if nothing else, shut down the Mets in Game 1 on Friday.

    But Sunday night, with the deciding game of this Subway Series hanging on the left arms tethered to the teams’ aces, Santana reminded Cashman and the rest of baseball why the Yanks almost picked him before they picked Sabathia.

    Then again, maybe, if the Yankees got Santana, then, maybe they would have earned the Wildcard in 2008. Yeah, it’s a reach – because they did finish six games back. But, there’s a part of me that really feels swapping out Darrell Rasner in the starting rotation, that season, for Santana would have been good for six wins.

    And, maybe, if the Yankees make the postseason in 2008, then, maybe they make it to the World Series and beat the Phillies for a ring? Yeah, it’s a reach – because they would have needed to get past the Angels and Rays in the playoffs. But, hey, you never know?

    And, then, maybe, if the Yankees win a World Series in 2008, then, maybe New York doesn’t go out and spend a ton of money on CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixiera after 2008. Here, instead, maybe they get a stop-gap first baseman for 2009-10 figuring they’re going to need a parking spot for Posada/Jeter/A-Rod in the future. Or, a place for Jesus Montero to play? And, then, maybe that money spent on CC, A.J., and Tex would be saved to help the “budget” in 2010 – thus saving guys like Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon and allowing the Yankees to pass on guys like Randy Winn and Nick Johnson?

    O.K., sure, this is kind of complex. But, it would be fun, if there was a way, to see what would have happened if the Yankees had traded for Santana…and what that would have meant, downstream, in the future.

    Who’s…Not Hot…On First?

    Posted by on May 24th, 2010 · Comments (3)

    Some big league first basemen are off to a rough start with the bat this season:

    Rk Player OPS+ Age Tm G PA R HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG
    1 Casey Kotchman 71 27 SEA 39 157 12 3 18 15 19 .196 .287 .333
    2 Derrek Lee 72 34 CHC 44 198 21 5 20 26 38 .218 .323 .341
    3 Carlos Pena 79 32 TBR 43 178 21 7 27 24 47 .187 .303 .360
    4 Lyle Overbay 80 33 TOR 45 183 25 4 18 18 42 .215 .295 .362
    5 Todd Helton 91 36 COL 38 163 17 1 9 28 23 .269 .393 .343
    6 Mark Teixeira 94 30 NYY 44 202 25 7 30 28 37 .209 .327 .378
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 5/24/2010.

    .
    Looks like the Yankees Mark Teixeira has some company in the “1B Doghouse” department. Related, which of these six do you think will have the best numbers at the end of the season? My pick: Tex.

    Unrelated:  Think the M’s would take Juan Miranda for Cliff Lee?  Yes, I kid…

    Rangers Sale To Hit A-Rod’s Wallet?

    Posted by on May 24th, 2010 · Comments (1)

    Via BusinessWeek/Bloomberg

    The Texas Rangers, the Major League Baseball team controlled by billionaire Thomas Hicks, filed for bankruptcy to facilitate a sale to investors led by team president Nolan Ryan and his partner Chuck Greenberg.

    The Arlington, Texas-based ballclub listed assets and debt of between $100 million and $500 million in Chapter 11 documents filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Fort Worth, Texas.

    Alex Rodriguez, now the third baseman for the New York Yankees, was listed as the Rangers’ top unsecured creditor.

    “I want to assure all our fans that this process will not affect the day-to-day management of the team as we continue to compete for a playoff spot in 2010,” Ryan said in a letter to fans posted on the team’s website.

    The club is the second Major League Baseball team to enter bankruptcy in less than a year after the Chicago Cubs in October joined owner Tribune Co. in Chapter 11 as part of that team’s sale.

    The team has asked the bankruptcy court to approve the sale at a hearing in 45 days, according to a posting on the team’s website. The sale should be completed by mid-summer, Ryan said.

    A message left at the office of Scott Boras, Rodriguez’s agent, wasn’t immediately returned.

    Nonetheless, thanks to Hank Steinbrenner, A-Rod won’t be hurting for cash any time soon…

    Yankees For Sale?

    Posted by on May 24th, 2010 · Comments (9)

    An interesting item from Mike Silva -

    Based on my conversations with people it appears the Steinbrenner sons are not quite as engaged with the product as the father. Sure, Hank and Hal want to win, but I get the feeling they have other interests as well. So would they sell the team once George passes on? Look at how the Hess family sold after Leon’s death in 1999. I believe we might see something similar with the Steinbrenner’s and the Yankees and I asked Bill [Madden] his thoughts on my theory.

    “I would agree with that. I don’t see the family keeping control of this team when George goes,” said Madden. He went on to mention the tax ramifications and how Hal Steinbrenner is a “hands off owner” that doesn’t have the same “passion” as his father. In short, Madden “fully expects” a sale of the team when they are faced with that situation.

    This is not new. Five years ago there were reports/opinion that the team woud go up for sale when Big Stein passes.

    What do you think? Will the Stein Brothers (and sisters) cash out when The Boss dies? If so, who would you want to see own the team? And, who would you least like to see take over?

    24, Lost, Or Something Else?

    Posted by on May 24th, 2010 · Comments (11)

    I have to confess that I’m a fan of the recent TV escape/chase serial cliff-hanger shows. Prison Break was the all-time best at this for me. But, I was also into Journeyman, Jericho and The Sarah Connor Chronicles – before the plug was pulled on them. And, I recently got into Fringe and Human Target.

    However, I must also share that I’ve never, ever, seen a single episode of “24” or Lost – and, with both of those shows now going, I’m wondering if I’ve missed a good one. I’ve heard many praise these shows…but, I just never got around to them.

    If I were to start watching one of these that I missed, now on DVD, which would be the best one to watch – “24” or Lost? Or, is there something else, not mentioned here, that would be a better pick?

    The Yankees Are For The Birds

    Posted by on May 24th, 2010 · Comments (2)

    The New York Yankees record, at this moment, is 26-18 and that’s good for a winning percentage of .591. That mark is tied (with the Twins) for second best in the American League.

    The Baltimore Orioles record, at this moment, is 14-31 and that’s “good” for a winning percentage of .311. That mark is the worst in all of baseball.

    The Yankees are 5-1, so far, this year when playing the Orioles.

    This means the Yankees, to date, are 21-17 when facing all teams not named the Orioles (who are the worst team in the league). Granted, that’s not terrible. A team that wins at that pace would win 90 games over a full season. But, I would think most fans expected the Yankees to play better than that this season.

    And, sure, yes, the Orioles are in the league, all the games/wins count, yadda yadda.

    I’m just saying that a fair portion of the Yankees having the second best record in the league is due to the fact one-eighth of their games have been played against the lowly Orioles and New York has won 83% of those contests. It’s just math – and the truth. This all said, the Yanks owe the Birds, don’t they?

    May 23rd @ The Mets

    Posted by on May 23rd, 2010 · Comments (14)

    The Yankees attempted rally in the last frame of this one was exciting. But, in the end, it was too little and too late…

    You could make a case that this was the 5th worst game that CC Sabathia has thrown as a member of the Yankees. That alone in regards to this game doesn’t matter much – as Johan Santana was dealing for the Mets tonight and even a sharp CC may not have mattered. But, when you consider that Sabathia’s ERA over his last 3 games before this contest was 5.09 (in 17.6 IP), and then you add this one to that…well…it’s sorta/kinda fair game to wonder about what’s been going on with the big lefty over the last 16 days or so.

    With this one, the Yankees have now lost six of their last eight…eight of their last thirteen…and 10 of their last 15 games. Yes, ten of their last fifteen. That’s not getting the job done, is it?

    Need more?

    On Saturday, May 8th, after beating the Red Sox, the Yankees were just one-half game out of first place (behind the Rays). And, now, with this loss, the Yankees are six games behind the Rays. Ya-huh, in just about two weeks, the Yankees have dropped 5 1/2 games in the standings. Granted, New York is still in second place in the A.L. East – but, they’re now much closer to the Jays (in 3rd) and the Sox (in 4th) than they are to the Rays (in first).

    This should all make for some interesting chatter in Yankeeland tomorrow – with May 24th being an off-day – and deservedly so.

    Since May 8th, several Yankees have not been playing pretty. This includes CC Sabathia, Chan Ho Park, Derek Jeter, Phil Hughes, Andy Pettitte, Brett Gardner, Boone Logan, Mark Teixeria, A.J. Burnett, Randy Winn, Joba Chamberlain – and even, at times, Mariano Rivera. It’s been a real team “effort.” (Amazingly, in his last 14 games, A-Rod has great overall stats. So, you can’t blame him for this…but, you can wonder how important he is to the team…since they’ve stunk while he’s going great.)

    At this point, I’m not sure who the real 2010 Yankees are? Is it the team that went 21-8 from April 4th to May 8th? Or, is it the team who has gone 5-10 since May 9th? Perhaps the next 15 to 30 games will let us know? Well, for sure, it’s not 2009 anymore in Yankeeland. That’s one thing for certain.

    Hughes Foul Game Vs. The Mets

    Posted by on May 23rd, 2010 · Comments (0)

    Via Corey Brock at mlb.com -

    When New York Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes was dinged for 41 foul balls against the Mets on Saturday, it marked the most foul balls a pitcher has had to endure since Padres pitcher Jon Garland allowed 42 in a start in 2005 while with the White Sox.

    On Sept. 16 of that season, Garland, who would go on to win a career-high 18 games for the White Sox, allowed 42 foul balls in an outing where he tallied 123 pitches in a no-decision against the Twins.

    Garland didn’t offer many thoughts on that particular game when pressed for his thoughts on it Sunday — “I’m sure it was talked about then,” he said — but noted that allowing so many foul balls can be unnerving for a pitcher.

    “I don’t know if it gets under your skin or not, but it does get frustrating,” Garland said. “To some degree, there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s hard to get mad. But it costs you innings and time.”

    Hughes went 5.6 innings in his game, facing 27 batters and throwing 117 pitches – and allowing those 41 foul balls. Garland went 8 innings in his game, facing 29 batters and throwing 123 pitches – allowing those 42 fouls balls. So, Hughes had more fouls per IP, BF, and per pitch. Crazy, huh?

    Speaking of foul balls, dig this on current Met Alex Cora, about a PA from May 12, 2004:

    With each ball that Alex Cora fouled off in his epic, 18-pitch at-bat against Chicago’s Matt Clement on Wednesday night, the hyperbole grew.

    By Thursday morning, it had reached a crescendo, lending a mythical quality to a plate appearance that finally ended when the Dodgers second baseman got a hanging slider from Clement and deposited it into the bullpen in right field.

    “It was the best I have ever seen, at-bat-wise,” said Dodgers hitting coach Tim Wallach who made his major-league debut as a player in 1980. “I can’t remember anything close to that.”

    “It was as fine an at-bat as I have ever seen,” said Dodgers manager Jim Tracy who has been around professional baseball since 1977.

    Whether or not it was the longest at-bat in major-league history, the major league’s official keeper of records, the Elias Sports Bureau doesn’t know because it says it doesn’t keep such records.

    Some long-time baseball observers claim that Nellie Fox might have once had a 25-pitch at-bat, or that Richie Asburn or Rico Carty could have had one as long in the ’50s or ’60s. Dodgers coach Manny Mota told MLB.com he once fouled off 13 pitches against St. Louis reliever Al Hrabosky with a 3-2 count before drawing a walk.

    Foul balls? A sign of a pitcher’s inability to put batters away? Or, a sign of batters not being able to catch up with a pitchers stuff? Or, maybe a little of both? In the case of Hughes last night, what do you think it was?

    A New Look At A-Rod’s Average When Balls In Play

    Posted by on May 23rd, 2010 · Comments (0)

    Click on the image to enlarge it.

    Image Source: NY POST. Related Story: NY POST.

    Looks like Morse, and a contract drive, were good for A-Rod – whereas some unanswered Gaela questions, and Diaz, are not so good.

    Viva Gli Strumenti Di Ignoranza!

    Posted by on May 23rd, 2010 · Comments (0)

    In honor of Yogi Berra, here’s a question: Which two “Italian descent” players have caught the most games for the Yankees since 1988? Here they are…

    Katherine Bell interviews Joe Girardi for the Harvard Business Review. Here’s a snip:

    You’re famous for being information-driven and analytical in your approach to managing.

    I love numbers. You can never give me too many numbers. I believe they tell a story, if you have a large enough sample. I have an industrial engineering degree — a degree in problem solving, basically. But my whole family is math-oriented, and that’s always been how I see things.

    How do you coach players to know when to abandon the plan and listen to their guts?

    If you think too much you fail, because the game happens too quickly. The key is preparation. You tell the player, “Here’s the information — now go play.” The data has to become instinctual. You can’t think about it in the middle of a pitch. Some players have a hard time using information to improve their instincts, and they usually weed themselves out.

    And, Steve Serby does a Q&A with Francisco Cervelli. Some of that:

    Q: What motivates you?

    A: First of all my family — I want to bring my family here. My country is really dangerous. We got a real bad time right now . . . about security, politics, everything . . . .and I want to feel 100 percent safe with them because they’re everything in my life. And second, I want to make a big foundation with my grandma’s name, that’s Flora Maria Navarro, and help a lot of poor people in Venezuela.

    Q: In what way is it dangerous?

    A: Kidnapping. . . . I think in my city, in 48 hours, maybe 25 people got killed . . . every weekend.

    Q: Scouting report on how Francisco Cervelli plays?

    A: Energy, energy and energy, that’s it.

    Q: Where do you get your energy from?

    A: I don’t know, I think that’s forever. I love this sport and I play with passion, and being around a lot of people, they always tell me, “Play like it’s the last day in your life all the time.”

    Q: Do you talk to batters behind the plate?

    A: Yeah.

    Q: Does it bother them?

    A: Maybe, I don’t know. . . . Sometimes I talk about stupid things and maybe they don’t concentrate 100 percent.

    Q: Let’s say I’m in the batter’s box, what would you tell me?

    A: (Marco) Scutaro, from Boston? I tried to talk in Italian. Stupid things like, “Hey, if you get to first base, try to steal . . . I’m gonna get you out.”

    Q: Did he answer you back in Italian?

    A: Oh yeah . . . bad words (laughs).

    In many ways, Joe Girardi is the perfect skipper for Francisco Cervelli – as I’m sure the former appreciates what the latter brings to the table. Hey, maybe, someday, Cervelli will be a manager somewhere too? I could see that happening…

    Tale Of Two Teixeiras

    Posted by on May 23rd, 2010 · Comments (1)

    Look at Mark Teixeira’s stats when we compare 2009 and 2010 in the following slices:

    2009
    1st 22 Games:	 90 PA   .738 OPS
    Games 23 to 37:	 68 PA   .922 OPS
    Games 38 to 43:	 25 PA  1.611 OPS	
    
    2010
    1st 22 Games:	100 PA   .559 OPS
    Games 23 to 37:	 69 PA  1.035 OPS
    Games 38 to 43:	 28 PA   .339 OPS

    Last season, he started off terrible and then got red hot once the calendar turned to May. And, he ripped the ball in the first 21 games of May 2009.

    This season, he started off even worse than he did in 2009. But, once the calendar turned to May, he got hot again. However, this season, that hot streak only lasted for 15 games. And, then, Tex went into the tank again – even worse than he was at the start of the year.

    So, what gives?

    Well, first, this is another feather in the cap against that B.S. theory that Mark Teixeira’s season last year was due to the return of A-Rod to the Yankees line-up. Rodriguez has been in the Yankees line-up all season this year, right?

    Secondly, I think this tells us that Teixeira is one streaky batter. And, when he’s bad, he’s really, really, bad. Or, is he?

    Outside of his bad “Aprils,” he’s only really hit the skids before in May 2004 and July 2005. So, more than likely, this May mini-slump is just the result of facing Wade Davis, Jamie Shields, Hisanori Takahashi and Mike Pelfrey when they were “dealing.” Of course, the bad news is: Johan Santana is facing the Yankees today.

    Anyway, I expect Mark Teixeira to start hitting the ball again – and soon. He’s always been a great hitter outside of the month of April. And, unless he’s hurt, there’s no reason why he won’t start raking again soon.

    May 22nd @ The Mets

    Posted by on May 22nd, 2010 · Comments (4)

    Geez, the Yankees made finger-lickin’ Mike Pelfrey look like Nolan Ryan in this one, didn’t they? And, on the whole, sure, it was a 5-3 loss – but, if not for some bad Pelfrey fielding and a walk to Kevin Russo with the bases loaded, then the Yankees would have only scored…awwww…screw it.

    What am I trying to say? It doesn’t matter – the Yankees offense was feeble in this one. Where was Kevin Maas on a night like tonight, when you needed him?

    Strange night for Phil Hughes. He allowed big two out hits and/or walks in the 1st, 3rd and 6th. But, he got big outs in tough spots in the 5th and 6th too. And, yeah, Winn hurt him in the 6th – but Texiera saved him in that inning too. So, there was some good and bad in this one for Hughes. It’s tough to put a grade on this game for him.

    I will give A-Rod and Teixeira a big, fat, red, “F” for those plate appearances in the 7th inning. Second and third with one out. A 20-year old on the mound – albeit one who throws heat. And, the score, at that time, was 4-1 (Mets). Alex and Mark are getting paid a lot of money to handle situations like that one. At the least, they should have plated one run…but…nooooooooo.

    Speaking of appearances, and “no,” Reggie Jackson showing up in the dugout, in the 6th inning, in street clothes, is a no-no. And, on National TV? Somebody’s getting fined on that one.

    This is now 9 of their last 14 that the Yankees have lost. And, if not for a Jonathan Papelbon meltdown and an Alex Cora error, we could be talking about a situation where the Yankees have lost 11 of their last 14 games. Brutal.

    CC against Johan tomorrow. Should be a good one. Hopefully, the Yankees will come out on top and take this series. And, on the bright-side, after this, the Yankees play the Twins, who they always beat, and the Indians and O’s, who both stink – so, maybe they can salvage this month, and start off the next one well, with a nice run there?

    Bleich’s Shoulder Injury

    Posted by on May 22nd, 2010 · Comments (0)

    Via Tim Bontemps -

    Left-hander, Jeremy Bleich, one of the Yankees’ top pitching prospects, appears headed for a lengthy stint away from the pitcher’s mound after Double-A Trenton placed him on the disabled list Wednesday with a shoulder injury.

    Bleich has been meeting with doctors this week, and surgery seems like the most likely outcome.

    Mark Newman, the Yankees’ senior vice president of baseball operations, was downcast when asked about the issues with Bleich’s shoulder yesterday.

    “I don’t know,” he said when asked about Bleich’s return. “We’re (still) getting some information back from the doctors … he had more tests (yesterday).”

    Bleich, the Yankees supplemental first-round pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, entered the season as the ninth-best prospect in the Yankees organization, according to Baseball America. He was 3-2 with a 4.79 ERA in eight starts this season with Trenton, striking out 26 and walking 28 in 41.1 innings.

    The Yankees first three picks in the 2008 draft were Gerrit Cole, Jeremy Bleich and Scott Bittle. Back at the time of these picks, I called it The Great Disaster Draft Of ‘08. And, I still stand by that statement. Here are just some of the prospects that the Yankees passed on to select Cole, Bleich and Bittle: Lonnie Chisenhall, Casey Kelly, Jaff Decker, Anthony Gose and Tanner Scheppers. There’s still hope for David Adams, David Phelps and maybe Pat Venditte turning out to be something from the Yankees 2008 picks. But, man, did they ever whiff on the first three…

    Torre To Manage Mets In 2011?

    Posted by on May 22nd, 2010 · Comments (5)

    Via Bob Klapisch

    So [Jerry] Manuel inches even closer to the brink, all but ready to cede the throne to [Bob] Melvin. In many ways Melvin would be anti-Manuel – focused, serious, competent — although Mets fans who are hoping for a charismatic figure will be disappointed.

    On the scale of personal charm, which goes from one to Bobby Valentine, Melvin is fairly stuck at zero. His talents will carry the Mets through the rest of the 2010 season, and no further. Whatever happens in the next week, it’s a near certainty the Mets will be looking for a new manager again this winter.

    The pendulum could swing one of two ways. Either the Wilpon family takes a wild gamble on the franchise’s wild man, Wally Backman, after just one season at Class A Brooklyn, or else they lure Joe Torre back to New York after his Dodger contract expires this October.

    Torre would give the Mets instant respectability throughout the industry and would bolster their efforts to sign free agents like Cliff Lee. Torre is immensely popular with the game’s biggest stars, and his drawing power – backed by the Mets’ willingness to be the highest bidder – might be enough to convince a player of Lee’s caliber to come to Flushing.

    I thought about this “Torre to the Mets” thing back when those stories on Torre not returning to the Dodgers next year popped up. Won’t that be interesting, if it happens? Would Don Mattingly go with him? Imagine the sight of Don Mattingly in a Mets uniform. Ugh. Then again, would Donnie get the Dodgers job if Joe left? And, what would this all mean to Torre’s Yankees legacy? Would this cool the Yankees on retiring #6 any time soon? Or, is that already on ice anyway? Think Willie Randolph would warn Torre about life in Metsville? Then again, if Torre worked for Big Stein and the McCourts, then the Mets would be a piece of cake, no?

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