• Showalter’s Solowheel Performance Is Oscar Worthy

    Posted by on June 30th, 2012 · Comments (1)

    Awesome prank.

    Players To Hit For The Cycle More Than Once (Since 1918)

    Posted by on June 30th, 2012 · Comments (2)

    Welcome to the club, Aaron Hill:

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    Much Nicer Time 78.6 Miles South Of Yankee Stadium

    Posted by on June 29th, 2012 · Comments (0)

    I was spared watching the Yankees game tonight. Instead, my family and I went to see Ryan Howard do a rehab appearance with the Lakewood BlueClaws. And, it was a Clawsome game.

    Alex Meyer was also pitching for the visiting Hagerstown Suns. He was selected by the Washington Nationals in the first round (23rd overall) of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Kentucky. Dude throws major gas. The ballpark gun had him in the 97-98 MPH range.

    At the game, they did flash on the scoreboard that the Yankees were losing 7-6 in the fifth. And, after the post-game fireworks in Lakewood, we got back to our car just in time to hear Cory Wade turn a 10-7 game into a 14-7 game.

    Vent all you want about the Yankees in the comments section. In the meantime, here are some pictures from First Energy Park. Click on the image to enlarge them.

    Anthem time!

    Ryan Howard facing Alex Meyer!

    Pork Roll, Egg, & Cheese race.  Hey, it’s a “Jersey” thing.

    Hey, Lenny’s kid was in the game! (True story.)

    Ka-boom! Post-game fireworks.

    Dodgers Set Record With Big League Offspring

    Posted by on June 29th, 2012 · Comments (1)

    Via Joe McDonnell:

    [The Dodgers set] a record on June 1 as five sons of major leaguers — Tony Gwynn, Scott Van Slyke, Ivan De Jesus, Dee Gordon and Jerry Hairston Jr. — were all in the starting lineup against Colorado. Gwynn was in the outfield, while the other four set a record for sons of ex-big leaguers comprising the starting infield.

    Five out of nine? I want to see some team better than mark. It may never happen.

    The 42 Pitchers To Make Their Big League Debut As A Starting Pitcher For The New York Yankees – Since 1973

    Posted by on June 29th, 2012 · Comments (1)

    And, tonight, Mr. Warren makes 43…

    Can’t believe it’s been 5 years since this last happened.

    The list:

    Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP GSc
    1 Ian Kennedy 2007-09-01 NYY TBD W 9-6 GS-7 ,W 7.0 63
    2 Tyler Clippard 2007-05-20 NYY NYM W 6-2 GS-6 ,W 6.0 65
    3 Matt DeSalvo 2007-05-07 NYY SEA L 2-3 GS-7 7.0 64
    4 Phil Hughes 2007-04-26 NYY TOR L 0-6 GS-5 ,L 4.1 37
    5 Chase Wright 2007-04-17 NYY CLE W 10-3 GS-5 ,W 5.0 45
    6 Kei Igawa 2007-04-07 NYY BAL W 10-7 GS-5 5.0 22
    7 Jeff Karstens 2006-08-22 NYY SEA L 5-6 GS-6 5.2 45
    8 Sean Henn 2005-05-04 NYY TBD L 8-11 GS-3 ,L 2.1 19
    9 Chien-Ming Wang 2005-04-30 NYY TOR W 4-3 GS-7 7.0 55
    10 Brad Halsey 2004-06-19 NYY LAD W 6-2 GS-6 ,W 5.2 53
    11 Alex Graman 2004-04-20 NYY CHW W 11-8 GS-3 2.2 22
    12 Brandon Claussen 2003-06-28 (2) NYY NYM W 9-8 GS-7 ,W 6.1 55
    13 Brett Jodie 2001-07-20 NYY TOR L 4-10 GS-2 ,L 2.0 17
    14 Christian Parker 2001-04-06 NYY TOR L 4-13 GS-3 ,L 3.0 15
    15 Randy Keisler 2000-09-10 NYY BOS W 6-2 GS-5 ,W 5.0 54
    16 Jake Westbrook 2000-06-17 NYY CHW L 9-10 GS-2 ,L 1.2 15
    17 Orlando Hernandez 1998-06-03 NYY TBD W 7-1 GS-7 ,W 7.0 68
    18 Hideki Irabu 1997-07-10 NYY DET W 10-3 GS-7 ,W 6.2 61
    19 Ramiro Mendoza 1996-05-25 NYY SEA W 5-4 GS-6 ,W 6.0 52
    20 Mariano Rivera 1995-05-23 NYY CAL L 0-10 GS-4 ,L 3.1 26
    21 Domingo Jean 1993-08-08 NYY MIN W 8-6 GS-7 6.2 49
    22 Mark Hutton 1993-07-23 NYY CAL W 5-2 GS-8 ,W 8.0 71
    23 Sterling Hitchcock 1992-09-11 NYY KCR W 2-1 GS-6 6.0 57
    24 Bob Wickman 1992-08-24 NYY MIL W 9-8 GS-6 6.0 46
    25 Sam Militello 1992-08-09 NYY BOS W 6-0 GS-7 ,W 7.0 77
    26 Scott Kamieniecki 1991-06-18 NYY TOR W 4-2 GS-7 ,W 6.0 48
    27 Jeff Johnson 1991-06-05 NYY TOR L 1-4 GS-7 ,L 7.0 51
    28 Wade Taylor 1991-06-02 NYY MIL W 7-4 GS-6 ,W 5.1 41
    29 Steve Adkins 1990-09-12 NYY TEX L 4-5 GS-2 ,L 1.1 35
    30 Dave Eiland 1988-08-03 NYY MIL L 5-6 GS-7 7.0 68
    31 Al Leiter 1987-09-15 NYY MIL W 4-3 GS-6 ,W 6.0 64
    32 Scott Nielsen 1986-07-07 NYY TEX W 14-3 GS-7 ,W 7.0 51
    33 Bob Tewksbury 1986-04-11 NYY MIL W 3-2 GS-8 ,W 7.1 53
    34 Jim Deshaies 1984-08-07 (1) NYY CHW L 3-6 GS-4 ,L 4.0 30
    35 Ray Fontenot 1983-06-30 NYY BAL W 4-3 GS-6 5.2 56
    36 Stefan Wever 1982-09-17 NYY MIL L 0-14 GS-3 ,L 2.2 11
    37 Gene Nelson 1981-05-04 NYY CAL W 4-2 GS-6 ,W 6.0 58
    38 Dave Righetti 1979-09-16 NYY DET L 4-8 GS-5 5.0 46
    39 Dave Rajsich 1978-07-02 (2) NYY DET W 5-3 GS-5 4.2 43
    40 Jim Beattie 1978-04-25 NYY BAL W 4-3 GS-7 ,W 6.1 59
    41 Gil Patterson 1977-04-19 NYY TOR L 3-8 GS-4 ,L 3.1 37
    42 Dave Pagan 1973-07-01 (2) NYY CLE W 11-3 GS-1 1.0 32
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 6/29/2012.

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    Yankees Stadium Legends Suite Seats

    Posted by on June 29th, 2012 · Comments (5)

    Has anyone ever seen a Yankees game from a Legends Suite?  What was it like?  Was it worth the money?

    The Rapada-Robertson Girardi Gaffe

    Posted by on June 29th, 2012 · Comments (16)

    This is getting messy.

    It stinks to lose a game when you have a 2-run lead and only need three outs to go – especially after your starter gives you a solid effort in a low scoring game.  But, for some reason, this one seems to sting even more than usual.  Why is  that?

     

    Bee Killed

    Posted by on June 28th, 2012 · Comments (0)

    Ouch.

    Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Name the Team Contest

    Posted by on June 28th, 2012 · Comments (6)

    Good luck!

    Best Pitchers In Baseball 1971-1974

    Posted by on June 28th, 2012 · Comments (8)

    Wilbur Wood was just about the king of the hill during this time:

    Rk Player WAR From To Age G GS W L IP ERA ERA+
    1 Wilbur Wood 34.2 1971 1974 29-32 184 181 90 69 1390.1 2.86 127
    2 Tom Seaver 30.8 1971 1974 26-29 139 138 71 43 1074.1 2.45 143
    3 Bert Blyleven 27.8 1971 1974 20-23 154 153 70 66 1171.2 2.67 136
    4 Gaylord Perry 27.8 1971 1974 32-35 156 155 80 60 1289.0 2.64 135
    5 Fergie Jenkins 25.5 1971 1974 28-31 154 154 83 53 1213.2 3.14 121
    6 Mickey Lolich 22.8 1971 1974 30-33 169 169 79 64 1320.0 3.31 110
    7 Steve Carlton 21.8 1971 1974 26-29 157 156 76 52 1204.0 3.10 119
    8 Phil Niekro 21.3 1971 1974 32-35 163 141 64 49 1098.1 2.91 131
    9 Jon Matlack 18.8 1971 1974 21-24 109 106 42 44 788.1 2.71 130
    10 Nolan Ryan 18.3 1971 1974 24-27 152 145 72 62 1094.2 2.88 115
    11 Luis Tiant 18.2 1971 1974 30-33 137 102 58 39 834.2 3.01 125
    12 Don Sutton 17.9 1971 1974 26-29 144 143 73 40 1070.1 2.57 131
    13 Don Wilson 16.9 1971 1974 26-29 138 126 53 49 940.1 2.83 122
    14 Bob Gibson 16.3 1971 1974 35-38 123 123 58 47 958.2 3.01 118
    15 Jim Palmer 15.9 1971 1974 25-28 137 136 70 40 1031.1 2.54 134
    16 Catfish Hunter 15.7 1971 1974 25-28 152 151 88 35 1143.2 2.68 122
    17 Joe Coleman 15.3 1971 1974 24-27 160 158 76 50 1140.0 3.45 106
    18 Dave Roberts 13.7 1971 1974 26-29 145 128 53 47 915.0 3.10 111
    19 Jim Kaat 13.5 1971 1974 32-35 132 127 59 42 875.1 3.30 112
    20 Andy Messersmith 13.0 1971 1974 25-28 135 131 62 40 988.1 2.77 119
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 6/28/2012.

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    I wonder if R.A. Dickey can have a four year run like the one that Wood had?

    Jim Bowden On DeWayne Wise

    Posted by on June 28th, 2012 · Comments (4)

    Jim Bowden said that DeWayne Wise should be fined and suspended one game for misleading and cheating (for that play on Tuesday night).

    What a joke.

    I suppose that Jason Donald should have been suspended two years ago too for not letting Jim Joyce know that he blew the call?

    And, Now, Andy Pettitte Is Hurt?

    Posted by on June 27th, 2012 · Comments (13)

    Nasty comebacker off the foot/ankle. Forced out of today’s game.

    Thank goodness for the upcoming All-Star break…

    Sabathia Heads To The D.L.

    Posted by on June 27th, 2012 · Comments (13)

    Nope, not the down low…

    Via MLB

    Yankees ace CC Sabathia is heading to the 15-day disabled list with a Grade 1 groin strain.

    Manager Joe Girardi said Sabathia is expected to miss only two starts and should return to the rotation after the All-Star break. The club will announce a corresponding roster move Thursday, but right-hander Freddy Garcia will take Sabathia’s place in the rotation.

    “I think you can tell by the way he’s moving around more than anything. He doesn’t like to come out,” Girardi said. “I’m sure we’ll be a little bit cautious when he comes back, and we’ll ask him. [The doctor said if] you give him the 10-15 days, that [injury is] going to heal and it should not be an issue.

    “You could have tried maybe to have him not start this Friday and then having him start on Wednesday, but our thought it’s you’re risking him maybe missing seven or eight starts if he hurts it worse.”

    Sabathia has started at least 33 games in each of his three seasons with the Yankees, and 2006 was the only season in which the big lefty made fewer than 30 starts.

    Time for the Yankees to groin and bear it…

    Teams To Win 4+ Games In A Post-Season Where They Allowed 4+ Runs

    Posted by on June 27th, 2012 · Comments (5)

    It’s a small list – with most being post-1995 teams. as expected:

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    The Angels’ bats really carried them in the ’02 post-season. I still think someone needs to look into what was happening there…

    Teams Since 1996 To Win 45+ Of Their First 73 Games

    Posted by on June 27th, 2012 · Comments (4)

    Here is the list -

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    Eye-balling the list quickly, I would guess that less than 25% of these teams made it to the World Series.  And, less than 15% won a World Series ring.

    So many fans of these teams had their hopes and dreams, based on a fast start, hit a wall in October.   The race doesn’t always go to the swift, I suppose…

    Paul O’Neill On Nick Swisher’s Homerun Act

    Posted by on June 26th, 2012 · Comments (29)

    The question: Should teams be bothered by Nick Swisher’s excitement level when he homers off them?

    And, here and here is Paul O’Neill’s answer:

    “I can see how it can bother some people. But people who play with him understand it’s just him – But from the other side of the dugout, I can see how it can bother people.”

    Amen, Paulie. Amen.

    Let the bush league players act like that…’cause it’s just not the Yankees way.

    Teams That Score Mostly Via The Long Ball

    Posted by on June 26th, 2012 · Comments (2)

    Really good stuff on this from Jay Jaffe. And, that’s hard for me to say, because I think that Jay is somewhat pretentious.

    (more…)

    The Sing Happy Birthday To Derek Jeter Project

    Posted by on June 26th, 2012 · Comments (31)

    How cool would it be if the Yankee Stadium crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to Derek Jeter before his first At Bat this evening?

    Spread the word.

    Or, spread this word – either way will work.

    Marlon Byrd Busted For PED Use

    Posted by on June 26th, 2012 · Comments (5)

    Via MLB -

    Marlon Byrd, an 11-year Major League veteran who was released by the Red Sox earlier this month, received a 50-game suspension Monday after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

    Byrd is currently a free agent, so he will be placed on the restricted list for the duration of his suspension, which will begin immediately and will be in effect through Aug. 20. It will result in the loss of 50 days of pay.

    The outfielder, an All-Star with the Cubs in 2010, tested positive for Tamoxifen, the Commissioner’s Office said.

    Byrd said the positive test happened because of medication he was taking for a years-old condition that is unrelated to baseball and recurred during the offseason.

    “Although that medication is on the banned list, I absolutely did not use it for performance enhancement reasons,” Byrd said. “I am mortified by my carelessness and I apologize to everyone who loves this game as I do. I will serve my suspension, continue to work hard and hope that I am given an opportunity to help a Club win later this season.”

    Byrd, 34, has had a long-standing relationship with Victor Conte, who pleaded guilty to distributing steroids as part of the investigation of his company, Balco, in 2005. Conte served four months in prison and four months of home confinement, but Byrd said last year that he wasn’t concerned about the relationship.

    Byrd told reporters in February 2011 that he has used supplements since college, but was not concerned about testing positive for any banned substances, and that he trusted Conte would never provide an athlete with anything illegal.

    “To be honest, he could teach me how to beat the system if he wanted to, but I would have to ask him and then he would have to put himself in that situation again,” Byrd said. “I don’t want to do that, and he doesn’t want to do that.

    “He’s not going to make a mistake with the supplements, and that’s why I don’t have to worry about it.”

    Added Byrd, at the time, of his relationship with Conte: “I’m sure the Cubs knew. They wouldn’t have signed me if there were any worries. I’m a supplement guy. The Phillies knew it when I was drafted. I looked the same way.”

    Conte took to Twitter to deny his involvement.

    Byrd was a 10th-round pick of the Phillies in the 1999 Draft, and made his Major League debut with Philadelphia in 2002. He finished fourth in the National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2003, his first full big-league season, when he hit .303 with seven homers, 45 RBIs, 86 runs and 11 stolen bases.

    Byrd is currently a free agent, so he will be placed on the restricted list for the duration of his suspension, which will begin immediately and will be in effect through Aug. 20. It will result in the loss of 50 days of pay.

    The above part surprised me.  First, it would seem to make more sense to apply the suspension once he started playing again.  Putting it on him while he is a Free Agent is sort of like telling someone who is due jail time that his time stuck home because he was sick with the chicken pox will count as “time served.”  And, the loss of pay?  Well, I guess that’s legal – since he’s still on someone’s payroll.  But, it just seems harsh – given that he’s not actively employed.  It’s sort of like laying someone off, and, while he’s collecting his severance pay, docking him because it was subsequently found out that  he was sleeping on the job when he was working for you.  Yet, in the end, I guess this is what baseball wants – to hit the players in the wallet as a way to scare them from using PEDs.

    How Many Wins Should The Yankees Have On August 1st?

    Posted by on June 25th, 2012 · Comments (9)

    Looking at the Yankees schedule, and speaking as a Yankees fan, I want to wake up on the morning of August 1st (this year) and see New York with a record of 61-42.

    In fact, anything less than that mark would be a failure in my mind, based on the way they have played over their last 29 games (where they went 22-7).

    What do you think the Yankees record will be after 103 games this season?

    Breaking News: Kei Igawa Not Invited To Yankees Old-Timer’s Game

    Posted by on June 25th, 2012 · Comments (6)

    Then again, neither was Roger Clemens.

    Not Going To The Dance

    Posted by on June 25th, 2012 · Comments (5)

    I know that you cannot always trust Wiki. 

    But, if you can trust this list, it’s amazing how many D-I baseball teams never make it to the College World Series.  What does that tell you about College World Series format?  Or, is it just a matter of the schools in the south and west having too much of an advantage when it comes to having a baseball program?

    So, How’d I Do?

    Posted by on June 24th, 2012 · Comments (13)

    Thirty-three days ago, I predicted that the New York Yankees would have a record of 36-35 after their first 71 games of the 2012 season.

    And, now, we know that the Yankees went 43-28 over their first 71 games of this season.

    So, I was off by seven games.

    Why? It’s a matter of bits and pieces.

    I thought the Yankees would lose at least one game of their three game set in Oakland on May 25th-27th. But, they ended up sweeping the A’s. And, I thought the Yankees would lose two of three from the Tigers in Detroit at the start of June. However, New York took two games there. And, I thought that the Yankees would lose at least one game to the Mets when Terry Collins’ team came to the Bronx. But, the Yankees swept that series. And, I thought the Yankees would lose at least one game each when they visited Atlanta and Washington. But, they swept both those series. That’s five games right there in my difference.

    Bottom line, the Yankees pitching, overall, over their last 28 games has been a lot better than I expected. And, that’s why my prediction failed.

    Now, how will the Yankees pitching hold up from this point on? I dunno. You tell me…

    Russell Martin (And Brian Cashman) Will Be Reason Why The Yankees Don’t Win The Pennant In 2012

    Posted by on June 24th, 2012 · Comments (47)

    Did you know that the Yankees never had a pennant winning team where they had a catcher (with a minimum of 300 PA) bat less than .245 on the season?  Yes, it’s true.

    Via the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia, here’s the batting averages for every catcher on a Yankees pennant winner (min. 300 PA):

    AVERAGE                       YEAR     AVG      PA        G     
    1    Elston Howard            1960     .245      361      107   
    2    Jorge Posada             1999     .245      437      112   
    3    Yogi Berra               1957     .251      545      134   
    4    Jim Leyritz              1996     .264      309       88   
    5    Yogi Berra               1958     .266      476      122   
    6    Jorge Posada             1998     .268      409      111   
    7    Yogi Berra               1955     .272      615      147   
    8    Yogi Berra               1952     .273      605      142   
    9    Pat Collins              1927     .275      311       92   
    10   Wally Schang             1923     .276      315       84   
    11   Yogi Berra               1960     .276      404      120   
    12   Jorge Posada             2001     .277      557      138   
    13   Yogi Berra               1949     .277      443      116   
    14   Elston Howard            1962     .279      538      136   
    15   Yogi Berra               1947     .280      306       83   
    16   Jorge Posada             2003     .281      588      142   
    17   Bill Dickey              1941     .284      397      109   
    18   Jorge Posada             2009     .285      438      111   
    19   Pat Collins              1926     .286      373      102   
    20   Jorge Posada             2000     .287      624      151   
    21   Elston Howard            1963     .287      531      135   
    22   Joe Girardi              1996     .294      471      124   
    23   Yogi Berra               1951     .294      594      141   
    24   Yogi Berra               1953     .296      557      137   
    25   Thurman Munson           1978     .297      666      154   
    26   Yogi Berra               1956     .298      597      140   
    27   Thurman Munson           1976     .302      665      152   
    28   Bill Dickey              1939     .302      565      128   
    29   Thurman Munson           1977     .308      638      149   
    30   Bill Dickey              1932     .310      459      108   
    31   Elston Howard            1964     .313      607      150   
    32   Bill Dickey              1938     .313      532      132   
    33   Elston Howard            1958     .314      406      103   
    34   Wally Schang             1921     .316      513      134   
    35   Wally Schang             1922     .319      490      124   
    36   Yogi Berra               1950     .322      653      151   
    37   Bill Dickey              1937     .332      608      140   
    38   Elston Howard            1961     .348      482      129   
    39   Bill Dickey              1936     .362      472      112

    Brian Cashman should have seen Martin’s 2012 season coming, if he paid attention to his stats:

    Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB H BA OBP SLG
    2006 23 LAD NL 121 468 415 117 .282 .355 .436
    2007 24 LAD NL 151 620 540 158 .293 .374 .469
    2008 25 LAD NL 155 650 553 155 .280 .385 .396
    2009 26 LAD NL 143 588 505 126 .250 .352 .329
    2010 27 LAD NL 97 387 331 82 .248 .347 .332
    2011 28 NYY AL 125 476 417 99 .237 .324 .408
    2012 29 NYY AL 60 217 183 36 .197 .323 .383
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 6/24/2012.

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    The trend in his batting average is not that hard to see.

    Mets Duda’s Poor Play Allows Yankees To Win

    Posted by on June 24th, 2012 · Comments (15)

    Via the AP -

    [Lucas] Duda had a key miscue in right field and then squandered two chances at the plate to get the Mets back in the game. They left 11 runners on before a sellout crowd of 42,122 — the largest in the four-year history of Citi Field.

    Mark Teixeira, who is 0 for 8 against Young, worked a leadoff walk, and Nick Swisher took a hefty cut that produced only a soft fly to medium right field. Duda, still learning the intricacies of outfield play, broke back on the ball and then charged in. He came up short on a diving attempt, and the ball bounced past him for a double, Swisher’s 1,000th career hit.

    “He took a big swing, hit it off the end of the bat. I took a step back, then tried to make a play I really shouldn’t have,” Duda said.

    Ibanez lined the next pitch barely over the fence in the right-field corner for his 11th homer, tying the score at 3.

    The Mets had a great chance to tie it in the seventh. But with a runner on third, Logan whiffed Duda on three pitches and made another left-handed hitter, Murphy, look bad on an inning-ending strikeout.

    This was a gift win for the Yankees at Citi Field last night.  Granted, Nova and Logan pitched very well.  But, if not for the poor play of Lucas Duda, the Yankees come out of this one with an “L” (and not the “W”).  The Mets should be kicking themselves after this one.

    Today In 1917, Perfection Was A Shore Thing

    Posted by on June 23rd, 2012 · Comments (0)

    Yup, 95 years ago today, Ernie Shore cleaned up for the Big Bam. Arne Christensen has the details on the story.

    With One Swish, Mets Take Game One Of Series Against Yanks

    Posted by on June 23rd, 2012 · Comments (13)

    Via Tim Bontemps -

    Nick Swisher leapt as high as he could to catch the towering fly ball Ike Davis sent down the right field line with two outs in the bottom of the first inning last night.

    Unfortunately for the Yankees, Swisher couldn’t jump high enough.

    Instead, the ball bounced out of Swisher’s glove and over the fence, giving Davis a three-run home run and the Mets what proved to be an insurmountable 5-0 lead after one, helping them go on to a 6-4 triumph over the Yankees at Citi Field in the opening game of the latest Subway Series.

    “It definitely hit my glove, there’s no doubt about that,” Swisher said. “I just couldn’t pull it in. I wish I could have.”

    The Mets already had scored two runs in the bottom of the first against Yankees starter Andy Pettitte, and had two runners on base when Davis came up and swung at the first pitch Pettitte threw him.

    Davis hit the pitch, one Pettitte would later describe as a hanging cutter, high in the air and about 330 feet down the right field line. Swisher kept tracking the ball back toward the right field corner before eventually finding himself with no more room to spare, only to see his leap come up short.

    “I kind of lost it halfway up, and I knew it was going back there towards the wall, and when I got the shot, I just couldn’t get up high enough,” Swisher said.

    The play proved to be pivotal, as Pettitte eventually escaped from the first inning and settled down to shut down the Mets over the next five innings. The Yankees managed to chip into the lead, thanks to home runs from Andruw Jones and Robinson Cano, but were never able to overcome the initial hole they put themselves in.

    “He hit it a mile high, you know?” Swisher said. “I just tried to track it back to the wall, and once you get to the wall, I mean, that wall ain’t exactly five feet tall, you know? So I tried to get up there and make the play, and just couldn’t make it.”

    I wonder how many runs would have scored if Swisher let the ball hit the wall and then just played the carom?

    In any event, Pettitte did a good job giving the team innings after that disaster first inning. But, once again, the Yankees were a score on homerun only team. Maybe they can hire Justin Turner to teach them how to bat with runners in scoring position?

    Big game for Nova today. If the Yankees lose tonight, then Dickey will lock it up, and get the Mets the sweep, on Sunday.

    Making Out: The Difference Between A Force And Tag Play

    Posted by on June 22nd, 2012 · Comments (1)

    My eight-year old son asked me about this today.

    In his Little League game last night, he was playing first base.  On one play, there was a somewhat errant throw.  He eventually corralled it with the glove – but he was stretched out on the ground when it happened.  And, the only play he had at that point was to tag the base with his throwing hand.

    Of course, the batter/runner was out.  But, he asked me about it today – wanting to know why it was O.K., and the batter was out, when he tagged the base with his hand that did not contain the baseball.

    I explained to him that this was no different than if he had caught the ball and tagged the base with his foot – as he would normally make the play at first after catching a throw.  And, that the only time that there was no “electricity” (to borrow a term from my youth) allowed was when you were tagging the runner (and not that base).   In order to retire a runner, you had to tag him with the ball, or, tag him with your glove while the ball was inside it.

    Yet, afterwards, when I was alone, I thought about this some more. 

    Yes, there is a difference between forcing someone out at a base and tagging them out between the bases.  And, yes, it would be very awkward to have to tag the base with the ball every time you had a force play there.  But, why not allow that “electricity” rule when tagging a runner since it’s acceptable when “tagging” a base? 

    Maybe it goes back to the days of soaking (or plugging) the runner – where you could retire the player if you hit him with a thrown ball?  Perhaps that’s where the ball on runner contact was established?

    I don’t know.  And, I am not saying that retiring runners without a ball tag should be allowed.  I’m just curious why it’s required on a tag of the runner but not on the tag of a base.  And, it’s funny that I have never thought about this in the forty years that I’ve been a baseball fan – until asked today about it by my son.

    Mets Closer Calls Yankees “Chickens”

    Posted by on June 22nd, 2012 · Comments (1)

    Via the Post -

    At least somebody isn’t afraid to talk trash about a cross-town rival.

    “I can’t wait to face those chickens,” Mets closer Frank Francisco told The Post when asked about playing the Yankees in this weekend’s Subway Series at Citi Field. “I want to strike out the side against them. I’ve done it before.”

    Before Francisco could elaborate on his “chickens” comment, after the Mets’ 4-3 victory over the Orioles on Wednesday, he buttoned up.

    “I think I’ve said too much already,” he said.

    There you have it — a blast of bluster from the Mets as they attempt to regain some of the respect they lost two weeks ago when the Yankees swept them three games in The Bronx. Francisco didn’t appear in any of those games, but has a long history facing the Yankees as a member of the Rangers and Blue Jays.

    And, yes, for the record, he has struck out the side against the Yankees. It came on May 21, 2004 when Francisco, pitching for the Rangers, struck out Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi — the three batters he faced in the seventh inning.

    Francisco’s Mets teammates were more reserved in discussing the upcoming Subway Series, but it’s clear they are confident after sweeping the Orioles three games at Citi Field.

    “I think we can play with [the Yankees],” Scott Hairston said. “I don’t see why we can’t play the way we did in the Orioles series. We know they have a really good lineup and pitching staff and so do we. It’s going to be a fun series.”

    The Mets (38-32) would love to end a troubling pattern of getting swept a series before sweeping the next. They were swept three games by the Yankees before rebounding to sweep the Rays and then lost three straight to the Reds before handling the Orioles the last three games.

    “We’d like to get a win playing [the Yankees],” Ike Davis said.

    Just a win would be fine?

    “Anything — beat them one time,” Davis said. “I don’t like not beating a team in a season, so it’s our chance to get a ‘W’ off them.”

    I was at the Saturday night game when the Mets played the Yankees in the Bronx this season. I remember looking at the Mets line-up that night. Their first baseman was hitting a buck-sixty. Their number five hitter (Murphy) had zero homeruns on the season. And, their starting shortstop was a 30-year old bench player journeyman. That’s like spotting the other team 12 easy outs in the game…and the Yankees still barely won that game.

    The Mets may have been swept in the Bronx. But, they proved that they can play with the Yankees and they should put up a fight in Citi Field. But, Francisco needs to keep his mouth shut. Comments like that are never good to make…

    Will Dickey Change The Way Teams Think About Knuckleballers?

    Posted by on June 22nd, 2012 · Comments (5)

    Via Wallace Matthews -

    After the 2009 season, when [R.A.] Dickey was being shopped on the free-agent market, the Yankees kicked the tires on the then-35-year-old journeyman — and walked away.

    “We did not pursue him in a really aggressive fashion,” said Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler. “Obviously, you kick yourself a little bit now. If there’s such a thing as an outlier, he would be it.”

    Dickey wound up signing a minor league deal with the Mets. The Yankees traded for Javier Vazquez.

    The rest is history. Vazquez bombed out in his second go-round as a Yankee. Dickey is currently 11-1 with a 2.00 ERA.

    “He was not a guy we were running after,” Eppler said.

    In fact, neither Eppler nor Cashman can recall the last time the Yankees actively scouted, pursued or signed a starting pitcher who relies primarily on a knuckleball, for a variety of reasons.

    “I don’t think anybody gravitates to signing knuckleballers until they’ve had success for a year or so,” Cashman said. “I guess because they’re erratic and because there are very few who are very good for an extended period of time. But if you nail one like Dickey or [Tim] Wakefield, they can be saviors for your franchise, because obviously they can pitch on shorter rest, they never get tired and if they can control that pitch, they can be a great asset.”

    “There’s a certain sexiness about watching guys like [Justin] Verlander and CC, guys who throw hard and challenge you with a fastball,” Eppler said. “But at the end of the day, successful pitching is really about upsetting a hitter’s timing. If you can do that, you can be successful, and that’s clearly what Dickey’s been able to do.”

    I am not sure that Dickey’s success will change the way many teams view knuckleball pitchers. I suspect that a lot of clubs still view it as a freak pitch that carries too much risk. That said, in my lifetime, I have seen Tim Wakefield, Charlie Hough, Phil and Joe Niekro, and Wilbur Wood have success at the big league level throwing the pitch – and now Dickey. So, it is possible to have someone on your staff who features this pitch and be a benefit.

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