Non-drafted Free Agent.
Rule 5 Draftee.
Knee and Tommy John Surgery patient.
Mexican League alum.
Nick Adenhart buddy.
28-year old big league rookie.
And, now, a dude who made quick and easy work of the Yankees.
Non-drafted Free Agent.
This is interesting.
At first, the Yankees were throwing Kuroda, Garcia and Phelps in the series against the O’s. But, now, it’s going to be Kuroda, Phelps and Hughes – with Garcia following Sabathia in the Rays series.
Maybe they didn’t want Sweaty Freddy facing the Orioles? Either that are they don’t want Hughes pitching on the road since he’s been on a roll at home lately…
When Was The Last Time There Was A Mutually Meaningful September Game Played Between The Orioles & Yankees In The Bronx?
It would have to be a year where the O’s and Yanks were both good. And, to be technical, it could not be 1974 or 1975 – since the Yankees played in Queens during those seasons. (Yeah, if it’s not in Yankee Stadium, it doesn’t count.)
Based on that, I would think that it would have to be one of these seasons:
1997, 1996, 1980, 1977, 1976, 1970 or 1960.
However, the O’s did not play in New York during September in 1977 or 1980. And, the Yankees and Orioles were not as close in September (as they are now) during 1997, 1996, 1976, or 1970.
So, you may have to go back to this double-header back in 1960.
That’s before my time. Here’s more on it.
Update: I saw on the YES telecast of the game tonight that they said the last time the Yankees and O’s played each other, this late in the season, when they were 3 games apart on the standings was 1996. So, I stand corrected.
Via Tom Verducci -
Baltimore has been outscored by 24 runs, but it is charging toward October because of one of the flukiest stats in history: It is 24-6 in games decided by one run. The Orioles can’t keep it up — not .800 baseball in one-run games. If they do, they will shatter the record for the best winning percentage in one-run games in a full season: .733, a record that has stood for 104 years (1908 Pirates).
The Orioles also could smash the record for fewest one-run losses in a full season: 10, by the 1986 Red Sox, 1998 Yankees and, oddly, 2006 Blue Jays. Yes, the Orioles hit home runs late, their bullpen is very good and manager Buck Showalter is detail obsessive, all of which help Baltimore in close games. But 24-6? That’s just crazy.
Hey, better to be lucky than good…
Via Jack Curry today -
When the Yankees gazed at their schedule last week and noticed that they had six games with the Cleveland Indians and the Toronto Blue Jays, they realized they had a superb opportunity to silence two wobbly teams and strengthen their lead in the American League East. It is politically correct for the superior team to say that the inferior team could win on any given day. But, in sports, politically correct isn’t always correct.
When the Yankees woke up on Friday morning, it was the 80th straight day that they had been in sole possession of first. But, because the Yankees didn’t stomp on the Indians and the Jays by going 5-1 or 6-0, they have put themselves in a precarious spot. Besides the Orioles, the pitching-rich Tampa Bay Rays are also chasing the Yankees and sit 4 1/2 games out of first. Across the next 10 days, the Yankees will play the Orioles seven times and the Rays three.
While I focused on the Yankees going 3-3 in the last week, they have actually been a .500 team for more than a month. In their last 32 games, the Yankees are 16-16. Yes, they have endured a spate of injuries, but they have too much talent to play .500 for that long. For the next 10 games and beyond, the Yankees have to prove that.
The next ten days will not make or break the Yankees 2012 season. But, I do strongly believe that it will tell us a lot about the character of this team. If the Yankees do not win six of their next ten games (over this ten day period) – at the least – then, in my humble opinion, they are pretenders and not contenders this year (no matter what their overall record is this season, to date, and where they are in the standings).
How about you, what do you think?
That was quick, no?
Via TSN -
Almost as surprising as the season-long, greater-than-expected contributions from [Raul] Ibanez and [Eric] Chavez is the fact that they are among the rare Yankees who have stayed healthy.
Besides a stint on the seven-day DL because of a concussion, Chavez pretty much has avoided the back, shoulder, knee and neck pains that had derailed his career. Injuries didn’t slow Ibanez in his three seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, but age seemed to be taking its toll. He endured one of the toughest seasons of his career in 2011, when he hit .245/.289/.419 in 144 games.
Both players say a key part of their success this season is what they have been putting in their bodies. Hold on. I know what many of you are thinking. But these two never have tested positive for Melky Cabrera’s favorite shortcut or any other performance-enhancing drug. Ibanez and Chavez insist their health is based on special diets designed just for them.
We’re not talking about the typical no fast-food, no red-meat plan. We’re talking high-tech nutrition where you are tested to see what foods work and what foods don’t work for you. If you don’t have the resources to employ your own nutritionist, you can approximate their diets by sticking to the plan of “If you can’t hunt it, fish for it, pick it or pull it, don’t eat it.”
Ibanez has been eating this way since shortly before he reported to the Phillies in spring training 2009. With camp approaching, Ibanez says he still was feeling a lot of pain from an offseason sports hernia surgery. So he found a nutritionist, changed his eating ways and says, “A week to 10 days later, the pain was gone.”
He hasn’t suffered a reported injury since and says when he feels general soreness, he can attribute it to something he has eaten. When Ibanez reported to Yankees camp, Chavez came looking for his secret.
“I talked with Raul and told him my body is in pain all the time,” Chavez says. “But, man, you’re in great shape and have stayed pretty healthy over your career. What are you doing?”
Both players come across as a tad extreme about the benefits of what Ibanez says is basically a “Paleolithic” plan. After all, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches haven’t seemed to hurt Derek Jeter after all these years.
In a time when baseball still can’t escape from the steroids shadow, I wasn’t quite sure what to think when hearing two veterans go on about the virtues of organic eating.
The baseball world has been burned so often by cheaters that suspicions have become part of following the game. On the other hand, if Chavez wanted to try PEDs to get him healthy, he had no shortage of injuries to come back from during his Oakland A’s career. I might be naïve, but I’m buying the clean-living tales.
“One diet doesn’t work for everybody,” Ibanez says. “Everybody’s chemistry is different. Everybody’s body is different. Once you test what is good for you personally, what is not good for you personally, you can adapt. I had been told that high fiber, whole grains, are good for lowering cholesterol. I have a gluten allergy so that wasn’t helping me at all. It was making it worse.”
Cutting out wheat and dairy isn’t easy but Chavez, six months in, says “It’s been worth it. I can see the results. I’m not as moody. Even my sleeping patterns have changed. It’s helped me out with more than just baseball.”
Having made a such a change myself back in June of 2006, and sticking with it since that time, I fully understand how this works for these two players. And, I suspect that these two are not the only pro ball players to adopt this diet.
Via Wally Matthews -
According to a story in the upcoming issue of Bloomberg Businessweek, the Tampa Bay Rays, with their $63 million payroll and, so far, 71 wins — good for third-place in the AL East — rank as the “smartest spenders” in pro sports based on a calculation of payroll data and regular and postseason wins over the past five seasons.
The Yankees? How about #98 out of 122 franchises in MLB, the NFL, NBA and NHL.
But if you think that’s bad, take a look at the Mets. They’re in 120th place overall and dead last among major league baseball teams. Hardly a surprise.
The issue hits the newsstands tomorrow.
Somehow, I suspect that this nugget of information will not be included on Brian Cashman’s bio page in the Yankees Media Guide.
Just a couple of things to think about in Yankeeland as we close out August…
The last time the Yankees were in first place in September and failed to make the playoffs was 1974. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only six times in their history did they blow a first-place lead in September.
The Yankees did not hit a home run in their 2-1 home win over the Blue Jays [on Tuesday]. It was the just the Bombers’ fourth win in 2012 in which they failed to homer. Every other MLB team has at least twice as many wins. And the only team with a worse record than New York (4-18, .182) in such games is Houston (9-49, .155).
The Yankees record this season, so far, in three slices:
- Their first 42 games: 21-21
- Their next 32 games: 25-7
- Their last 56 games: 29-27
At some point, you have to accept it: Sans for that one hot streak where they had a bunch of inter-league games, the Yankees have just been a .500 team this season.
And, there’s a chance that the O’s, Rays, A’s and Tigers may knock them right out of the post-season picture this year – if the Yankees don’t start playing better baseball.
The last five days have been a blur for me.
On Saturday morning, my family left for a small vacation down in Baltimore. We arrived there at lunch-time on Saturday and left on Monday around 10:30 PM.
We did not get back home until 2 AM on Tuesday.
Later that day, we took the kids to the American Idol concert at the Prudential Center and didn’t get home until around 11 PM.
We were super busy down in Baltimore and I didn’t get much sleep. And, Tuesday, between getting home at 2 AM and then being out later that night until 11 PM, I emptied my tank.
This morning, I slept until 10 AM – and I cannot remember the last time I was not up before 8 AM. Man, I was tired. But, after that long sleep, we were back at it. And, this afternoon, we finally went to see The Dark Knight Rises – and then went out to dinner.
It’s 8 PM on Wednesday as I write this – and I have basically not been around “here” much since last Friday night. And, it seems longer than that…
Anyway, I see that the Yankees lost today and have now lost 8 of their last 13 games. And, they came damn close to getting swept by the Jays. Yikes!
Did you know that, since July 19th, the Yankees are 18-21 (in their last 39 games)? It’s true.
That’s not getting the job done.
…reminded me of this game.
Glad this one ended differently.
As of this morning, there’s only been two times in baseball history, since 1918, when a batter hit for the cycle while also walking at least twice in the game:
|1||Joe Gordon||1||Ind. Games||6||4||1||4||1||1||1||1||2||0|
|2||Mickey Cochrane||1||Ind. Games||6||4||1||4||1||1||1||4||2||0|
Gordon did it for the Yankees (on the road) and Cochrane did it against the Yankees (in the Bronx).
Via ESPN -
The Dodgers and Red Sox are closing in on a deal that would send Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to Los Angeles, though a few hurdles remain before it’s official, multiple baseball sources said Friday.
Pitcher Rubby De La Rosa will be headed back to Boston as the centerpiece of the deal, sources say. De La Rosa made his first major league appearance of the season Wednesday, having had Tommy John surgery about 13 months ago. Also included are first baseman James Loney and prospects Ivan De Jesus (infielder) and Jerry Sands (outfielder), according to sources, plus another top prospect that is still unknown.
The Dodgers optioned De La Rosa to Double-A Chattanooga on Friday afternoon. Gonzalez was scratched prior to Friday’s game and summoned to the clubhouse, along with Punto. Loney was a scratch as well, and was called to manager Don Mattingly’s office.
Giving up Gonzalez would be a shocking change of direction for the Red Sox, who in December 2010 traded two of their top prospects — first baseman Anthony Rizzo and pitcher Casey Kelly — to acquire the first baseman. Gonzalez is making $21 million this season, the first in the seven-year, $154 million extension he signed in April 2011.
But with the Red Sox essentially out of contention for a playoff spot and the Dodgers under new ownership, Los Angeles is aggressively making a strong bid to bolster its chances for this season and the future.
Beckett, a 10-and-5 player, has the right to refuse to go to L.A.
It’s likely the Dodgers would absorb most, though not all, of the $261 million that Gonzalez, Beckett and Crawford are owed after this season.
A Red Sox official, speaking on the condition of anonymity Thursday, insisted the Red Sox had no issues with Gonzalez on or off the field, but said the club was exploring all avenues to improve. Ridding itself of Gonzalez’s salary might free up resources that would allow it to make significant improvements to a pitching staff that has significantly underperformed.
“I think something is happening, but I’m in a state of disbelief that it is,” one baseball source said Friday.
If they pull this off, it would be amazing that the Red Sox could clear all that baggage and salary. I cannot remember the last time a team moved that much money in one deal. A-Rod to the Yankees was big. But, this is three players. Kudos to Boston if they can swing this one.
And, yes, the Yankees lost this game.
But, if I were the Yankees, I’d be wondering “What the hey…?”
Via Ben Badler –
Major League Baseball has approved Juan Carlos Paniagua’s $1.5 million deal with the Cubs, one year after terminating his $1.1 million deal with the Yankees that he signed using the same age and the same name.
According to a source familiar with the situation, MLB ruled Paniagua’s age undetermined, a decision that put the onus on the Cubs of whether to continue forward with the contract. Paniagua received his visa from the U.S. Consulate and made his first start for the Cubs yesterday in the Rookie-level Arizona League, where he threw two scoreless innings of relief with one walk and one strikeout.
Paniagua, a 22-year-old Dominican righthander who signed with the Cubs last month, has had two previous pro contracts terminated despite using the same date of birth (April 4, 1990) to sign every time. Paniagua originally signed with the Diamondbacks for $17,000 in May 2009 as Juan Carlos Collado, pitched in 2009 and part of 2010 in the Dominican Summer League on a pending contract, but his contract was terminated due to fraudulent paperwork.
He was declared ineligible to sign for one year, then signed with the Yankees for $1.1 million in 2011 as Juan Carlos Paniagua, but MLB terminated that contract due to what the league called “falsified documents.” Paniagua was again declared ineligible to sign for one year, then signed with the Cubs on July 19 once his penalty ended using the same name and the same age he used to sign with the Yankees.
Paniagua had touched 98 mph back in 2011, but more recent reports—including a May workout in Puerto Rico—have had him around 93-95 mph. His changeup has long been his No. 2 pitch but he has shown an improved 81-84 mph slider over the past year. Since Paniagua signed his contract after July 2, his bonus will count against Chicago’s $2.9 million international bonus pool for the 2012-13 signing period.
The Cleveland Indians have lost their last 8 games in a row.
Even worse than that, they have lost 21 of their last 25 games.
Yes, that’s 4-21 in their last 25 games. (They are also 9-29 in their last 38 games.)
It’s safe to say that the Tribe sucks at this given time and has for a while as well.
The Yankees will now play Cleveland for three games – with CC Sabathia facing Corey Kluber, Hiroki Kuroda going against Justin Masterson and Freddy Garcia squaring off with Ubaldo Jimenez.
If New York does not win at least two of these three games, then they should be embarrassed. This is a lay-up, an empty net shot on goal, a bar date with a hot alcoholic recent divorcee who suffers from self-esteem problems. Or, in other words, Yankees, don’t screw this up.
It was only back in December of 2010 that everyone in Red Sox Nation thought that Adrian was going to be their man, win a bunch of MVP Awards, etc.
Geez, this all turned quick.
Via Wally Matthews -
The New York Yankees, holders of probably more all-time records than any other team in the history of professional sports, are in position to make history once again.
If they succeed in blowing the rest of the 10-game lead they had accumulated over the American League East a month ago, they will have accomplished the biggest collapse in the history of this storied franchise.
Think about that for a moment.
The 1933 Yankees, with Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Bill Dickey in the starting lineup and Joe McCarthy in the manager’s office, had a six-game lead June 6 — and finished second, seven games behind the Washington Senators.
The 1935 Yankees, minus Ruth but with Gehrig, Dickey, McCarthy and Lefty Gomez, had a 5 1/2-game lead June 20 — and finished three games behind the Detroit Tigers.
And the 1987 Yankees, with Don Mattingly, Dave Winfield, Willie Randolph and Rickey Henderson, managed by Lou Piniella, were five games out in front July 5 — and faded to fourth, nine games off the pace.
But no Yankees team in their illustrious history has ever run off by 10 games ahead of the division and come back to the field.
This one certainly gives every indication it is capable of it.
Of course, those 1930s-era teams had only one shot, World Series or bust, and this year, there is the added safety net of the second wild card, which can be a trap of its own.
But the reality is that the Yankees, who looked like a lock for the AL East title on July 18, are now fighting for their postseason lives on Aug. 23.
The only thing that remotely compares to this is the 2004 AL Championship Series, in which they took a 3-0 lead over the Boston Red Sox and proceeded to lose the next four games.
But at least those Yankees made it to the postseason and advanced to the second round.
The 2012 Yankees have been as difficult to get a handle on as a bucketful of eels.
They lost several key players early in the season — Mariano Rivera, Brett Gardner, Michael Pineda — and rebounded as if nothing had happened, with the outfield platoon of Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez, Freddy Garcia, and, especially, Rafael Soriano serving as more than adequate fill-ins.
And yet, their season can be divided into three sections — pre-June, post-June and, of course, June, the month that has kept them in the pennant race.
Through April and May, the Yankees were 27-23. In July and August so far, they are 25-22. Since the All-Star break, they are 20-19, virtually a quarter of their season, in which they have been only one tick better than mediocre.
In June, however, the Yankees looked like the best team in baseball, winning 20 of 27 games, including 10 in a row at one point.
They have not looked nearly that good since.
But aside from one month of the season, the Yankees have had a very rough time so far of maintaining any kind of consistent winning pattern, and after this weekend, the road only gets rougher and more difficult to navigate.
Overcoming their injuries, regaining their midseason form and ultimately winning their 28th World Series championship is the kind of history the organization and its fans have come to expect and the kind other teams can only envy.
But right now, with 38 games left to play, it seems every bit as likely, if not more so, that the Yankees will create another kind of history this season, the kind no team would want to make.
Of course, if the Yankees win five of their next six and the Rays lose three of their next five – which both could happen, easily – then the New York would have a little more breathing room in the standings and a lot of this speculation will die down for a while.
Via Mark Feinsand -
The Yankees’ fate is in their own hands. Just look at the schedule.
With six games remaining against the Rays and seven against the Orioles — all 13 of those games coming during a 17-day stretch beginning Aug. 31 — the Yankees will have every opportunity to control their own destiny.
“We play everyone,” Derek Jeter said. “It’s going to be tough, but all the teams that are close to us, we play. If we win, we win.”
The Rays have been the hottest team in baseball, entering Thursday 18-6 since July 28 to trim their deficit in the AL East from 9½ games to three.
“They’ve played exceptional, that’s the bottom line,” Joe Girardi said after his team was swept in Chicago. “They go on a West Coast trip and do a great job out there. They’ve been playing really well. We went through a period like that, too. It’s unfortunate we didn’t play well here.”
The Orioles are 15-9 since that date, and although they have fallen from second place to third, they have cut an 8½-game deficit to five. That’s because the Yankees are 12-13 during that same period, watching their sizable division lead whither away.
Despite playing .500 ball in both May and July, the Yankees built up their lead with a 20-7 record in June. They’re hoping to go on a similar run over the final five weeks of the season to capture another AL East crown and punch their ticket to October.
“We had a monster June, so we just need to get back to that,” Nick Swisher said. “We’re not sweating anything or stressing nothing. I think we can make a lot of good things happen in a short amount of time.”
On August 16th, I had a chance to participate in a fan “Q&A” session with Joe Girardi. And, I asked him if there was one team that he would prefer to avoid in the post-season this year. (I also asked him if he had any reaction or comment on the situation with the Miami Marlins, since he was once part of that organization. And, of course, Joe took the high road and said that Loria gave him a chance to manage for the first time, and that he considers him a friend, and that he wishes him the best.)
In his answer to my question on the Yankees, Girardi said that he’s not looking that far ahead, and that his focus now is on getting the job done this season, noting that they have not locked up anything. And, he said that they still have a ton of games left with Baltimore, Tampa, Boston and Toronto (within the division).
Actually, today, the next six games for the Yankees should be pretty easy for them. And, their last ten games of the season should be an easy run as well. But, there’s a 22-game stretch in between those two soft spots where the Yankees have some tough games. And, how New York plays between August 31st and September 23rd may determine where they finish in 2012.
Further, I think Joe was correct. Even if the Yankees don’t finish first in the A.L. East, they are not a lock for one of the two wildcard slots as the Orioles, Tigers, A’s and Angels are still close to those two positions and in the mix here.
In Yankeeland, the real games begin in a week. And, in the meantime, it would do them good to take advantage of next six games against the Indians and Blue Jays and get at least four wins from those contests.
Via CSN Chicago -
At 38, Derek Jeter’s career should be entering its encore stage.
But don’t tell that to the future Hall of Famer, who is hitting .324 with 13 home runs and 43 RBIs, and went 6-for-14 with a home run in every game of the three-game series at U.S. Cellular Field.
Whenever the Yankees legend does decide to hang up his spikes, he could just take his fame and fortune and enjoy life on a beach somewhere, or he could pursue a future career that keeps him in the game.
The latter option doesn’t appear to be on his baseball bucket list, however.
When asked if he has considered managing when his playing days come to an end, he didn’t hesitate with an answer:
“No chance. No chance. Nada. Zero. No, not a chance.”
Jeter’s lack of desire to call the shots from the dugout doesn’t mean he can’t do the job. On the contrary, White Sox manager Robin Ventura believes Jeter could excel in that position.
“I don’t know. I’m sure he’s probably saying no right now but you never know,” Ventura said. “He’s smart enough to. He’s smarter than I am so he should be able to. You don’t know if its going to happen but he’s had a pretty good run as a player.”
Makes sense…why manage when you could own?
Via MLB –
The Rays are in the midst of a strange week. Not only did they have to fly back from the West Coast on Sunday and then play a game Monday night, they faced other strange scheduling quirks.
For example, Wednesday’s game against the Royals had a 1:10 p.m. ET start. Saturday’s game against the A’s will also have a 1:10 start, which can be attributed to Tropicana Field facilitating a party for the Republican National Convention.
Tampa Bay will not have a Sunday game because Tropicana Field will be used for an RNC party. Thus, the Rays will wrap up the three-game A’s series that starts Thursday with an afternoon affair on Saturday to allow time for preparation for the soiree.
“Sunday’s going to feel really weird,” outfielder Sam Fuld said. “It would be even weirder if there were regular-season NFL games. Then it would be totally foreign.
“I’ve never had a Sunday off during my pro career — never. College I guess would be the last time. It will be like a tease to the offseason.”
Added Wade Davis: “I never heard of Sunday off. I don’t think anybody has. Weird, right?”
As for getting reacquainted with East Coast time, Fuld believes the team should be over any lingering effects from the time change.
“I think we’re OK,” Fuld said. “[Tuesday], maybe we were a little dead. We always talk about that second day. Quick turnaround today, but we’ll be a little more energized. We’ll be juiced.”
No different than calling a Sunday game because of a hurricane forecast or something, right?
It’s worth a listen if you haven’t heard it yet.
I laughed when he said they should give the money back to the eight people who were there.
Via Bob Wolfley -
Brewers reserve outfielder Nyjer Morgan was the top choice in a poll of MLB players who were asked to name the most eccentric player in baseball. Sports Illustrated published the results of the poll earlier this summer.
In this week’s poll, carried in the current edition of SI, Morgan finished an impressive third place in another poll question put to 232 players. They were asked to name the phoniest player in baseball.
Two Yankees finished ahead of Morgan in this category.
Third baseman Alex Rodriguez got 26% of the vote, followed by rightfielder Nick Swisher with 14%.
Morgan was next with 11%, followed by Giants pitcher Brian Wilson (9%) and Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips (5%).
The magazine notes that most of the votes for Rodriguez (64%) came from players in the American League and 44% of those votes came from players in the Yankees’ division, the AL East.
Rodriguez also was voted the most overrated position player in the game (July 9 edition).
Besides Morgan, Wilson and Phillips were among the top six vote-getters in the voting for most eccentric player. So apparently there’s a link in some voters’ minds between eccentricity and phoniness.
I don’t know if “phony” is the correct word here? But, if it means some combination of being superficial, narcissistic, pretentious and fake…then I think the players got it right.
David Phelps was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 14th round of the 2008 amateur draft. To date, in his five seasons as a professional, he’s never had an ERA over three:
I like this guy. And, I love how he’s come in under the radar – compared to other recent hyped Yankees pitching prospects – and how he’s been handled by the Yankees, getting his feet wet, breaking into a starter’s role in the big leagues.
He’s not going to light up a radar guy or a scouting report. But, he can pitch.
Jed Weisberger shares more on him, here.
The dude went yard three times last night.
Back in 2005, I would have bet money that he was using something during his last year with the Dodgers to get a big payday as a free agent.
And, after 2009, I thought he was toast.
But, the last three seasons, he’s been very good. And, he can pick it.
Outside of not wanting his head touched, he seems like the kind of player one would want on their team.
If he keeps it up, maybe, someday, now that Ron Santo is in Cooperstown, Adrián Beltré may have a case for the Hall of Fame too?