• Yanks & Rays Over Last 24 Games: Difference Is Pitching

    Posted by on August 23rd, 2012 · Comments (8)

    The Tampa Bay Rays have gone 18-6 in their last 24 games.

    During this time, their pitching staff had an ERA of 1.77 and their batters had a BA/OBA/SLG line of .253/.315/.402 (in 914 PA).

    Yes, that’s a team ERA of one-seventy-seven.

    The New York Yankees have gone 12-12 in their last 24 games.

    During this time, their pitching staff had an ERA of 4.31 and their batters had a BA/OBA/SLG line of .276/.339/.457 (in 920 PA).

    It’s all about pitching, my friends. It’s all about pitching.

    What A Difference 37 Days Makes In The A.L. East Standings

    Posted by on August 23rd, 2012 · Comments (5)

    The standings in the A.L. East on July 18th of this season:

    And, here they are today:

    Looks like there’s a race in the East now, huh?

    Thirty-eight games to go. This could be interesting.

    Girardi To Heckler: Shut Up!

    Posted by on August 23rd, 2012 · Comments (1)

    H/T: BBTF

    My first two thoughts seeing this:

    1. Are the White Sox kidding me? There’s no where else in the ballpark where the manager can do his post-game interviews?

    2. This is still not the best ever “Shut up!” that Girardi has done.

    Say what you want about Joe – but, he doesn’t like losing. And, you have to admire that in your manager. One week ago today, I had a chance to listen to him speak and he shared that he never likes to lose. And, in his words, he was “chapped” on the plane ride out of Toronto when the Yankees lost 10-7 (even though they won the four games before that one). And, I would bet that he’s ticked now after the Yankees were just swept in the Windy City (which also happens to be Joe’s hometown).

    Chris Sale, Back In The Day

    Posted by on August 22nd, 2012 · Comments (8)

    Via Naple News last month -

    As a freshman in high school, Chris Sale didn’t resemble a baseball player.

    He stood just 5-foot-8. He weighed about 100 pounds.

    “Growing up he was never the kind of kid that you could build the team around,” his father, Allen Sale, said.

    Sale has certainly grown in all aspects.

    Now he’s 6-foot-6. At a still slim 180 pounds, he anchors the Chicago White Sox starting pitching staff.

    And he’s an All-Star.

    At Lakeland High, Sale’s coaches saw potential in the skinny little left-hander but never imagined he’d be a major leaguer.

    “His delivery was nice and loose with that lanky body, but he didn’t really throw all that hard, and he struggled with his control at the beginning,” said Ron Nipper, his junior varsity coach at Lakeland High. “I wish I could say that I knew it all along, but I really didn’t. He was just a good athlete with a decent arm who would likely be a varsity pitcher one day.”

    Not much about Sale’s early high school career hinted at his future stardom.

    He did grow four inches over the summer before his junior year. But for the most part he was just another big kid with a good arm — something that is almost as common in the state of Florida as saw palmetto bushes.

    Perhaps the most memorable moments of his prep career were tape-measure home runs hit off him.

    Winter Haven’s Jordan Schafer, who now plays for the Houston Astros, connected on one. And then there’s the 440-foot blast that current Pittsburgh Pirates and National League All-Star Andrew McCutchen hit during a game while playing for neighboring Fort Meade.

    “I think it was closer to 475 feet,” Sale’s dad joked of McCutchen’s shot. “One of the scouts in attendance said it was the longest home run that was hit in the state that year. But Chris did strike him out earlier in the game, and I think that was one of only four strikeouts Andrew had that entire year.”

    “Chris only got lit up by the best,” Nipper said.

    Sale came into his own during his senior year. Still extremely lanky, Sale managed to add a few more pounds to his 6-4 frame, which also added a few miles per hour to his fastball. Sale also managed to refine his control. He only walked 11 batters that year compared to his 99 strikeouts. He even tossed a complete game in which he never threw a single ball outside of the strike zone.

    “That summer before his senior year, he really blossomed,” his father said. “He grew up a lot.”

    Imagine growing 10 inches in High School. Can you say “growth spurt”?  By the way, how’s Andrew Brackman these days?

    Greg Dobbs, The Most Interesting Man In Baseball

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

    This is old, but, it still makes me laugh -

    By now, many have seen the Dos Equis beer commercials with “The Most Interesting Man in the World.” Leave it to left fielder Logan Morrison to have some fun at the expense of teammate Greg Dobbs, who’s often teased by his teammates as being a “professional hitter.’’

    Back in April, Morrison helped launch the twitter handle “MostInterestingManIn Baseball” and encouraged his followers to tweet in their favorite lines about Dobbs.

    Before last Monday’s game, Fox Sports Florida got 11 Marlins players to read their favorite lines. Here are a few.

    I don’t ask Siri for information. I ask Greg Dobbs. … His pine tar uses pine tar. … He doesn’t wear eye black because the sun is afraid of him. … He hits walk-off home runs in batting practice.

    When he gets hit by a pitch, the ball apologizes to him. … When he checks his swing, the umpires asks for his opinion. … When he hits a home run, the pitcher shakes his hand. … He once struck out just to know what it feels like.

    Bartolo Colon Busted For PED Use

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

    Via ESPN -

    Former Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon of the Oakland Athletics was suspended for 50 games Wednesday after testing positive for testosterone.

    Major League Baseball made the announcement one week after All-Star Game MVP Melky Cabrera of the San Francisco Giants was suspended 50 games for a positive test for the same substance.

    “I apologize to the fans, to my teammates and to the Oakland A’s,” Colon said in a statement released by the players’ association. “I accept responsibility for my actions and I will serve my suspension as required by the joint drug program.”

    Colon will miss the final 40 games of the regular season and the first 10 games of the postseason if Oakland advances that far. Any remainder of the suspension would be served in a future season, if Colon signs another major league contract.

    “It’s a shock,” Oakland reliever Grant Balfour said. “He’s a guy that we’re definitely relying on right now. I guess you could say it’s bad timing any time, but especially now.”

    Oakland, which hasn’t made the playoffs since 2006, began Wednesday a half-game out.

    Someone should have told Bartolo that fat, juiced and stupid is no way to go through life…

    The Next All-Time Great Record That Derek Jeter Is Close To Setting

    Posted by on August 22nd, 2012 · Comments (8)

    Most career hits by a right-handed batter in American League history:

    Rk Player H From To Age G PA BA
    1 Paul Molitor 3319 1978 1998 21-41 2683 12167 .306
    2 Derek Jeter 3255 1995 2012 21-38 2546 11707 .314
    3 Cal Ripken 3184 1981 2001 20-40 3001 12883 .276
    4 Robin Yount 3142 1974 1993 18-37 2856 12249 .285
    5 Al Kaline 3007 1953 1974 18-39 2834 11596 .297
    6 Alex Rodriguez 2872 1994 2012 18-36 2496 11034 .301
    7 Brooks Robinson 2848 1955 1977 18-40 2896 11782 .267
    8 Al Simmons 2831 1924 1944 22-42 2113 9137 .337
    9 Luke Appling 2749 1930 1950 23-43 2422 10254 .310
    10 Luis Aparicio 2677 1956 1973 22-39 2601 11230 .262
    11 Rickey Henderson 2604 1979 2002 20-43 2540 11180 .282
    12 Jimmie Foxx 2543 1925 1942 17-34 2143 9178 .331
    13 Nap Lajoie 2521 1901 1916 26-41 1988 8256 .336
    14 Harry Heilmann 2499 1914 1929 19-34 1990 8390 .342
    15 Ivan Rodriguez 2477 1991 2009 19-37 2151 8790 .301
    16 Frank Thomas 2468 1990 2008 22-40 2322 10075 .301
    17 Jim Rice 2452 1974 1989 21-36 2089 9058 .298
    18 Dwight Evans 2446 1972 1991 20-39 2606 10569 .272
    19 Alan Trammell 2365 1977 1996 19-38 2293 9376 .285
    20 Carlton Fisk 2356 1969 1993 21-45 2499 9853 .269
    21 Manny Ramirez 2337 1993 2011 21-39 2079 8882 .311
    22 Kirby Puckett 2304 1984 1995 24-35 1783 7831 .318
    23 Joe Cronin 2258 1928 1945 21-38 2074 8724 .302
    24 Jimmy Dykes 2256 1918 1939 21-42 2283 9351 .280
    25 Bert Campaneris 2249 1964 1983 22-41 2328 9625 .259
    26 Edgar Martinez 2247 1987 2004 24-41 2055 8674 .312
    27 Joe DiMaggio 2214 1936 1951 21-36 1736 7673 .325
    28 Michael Young 2189 2000 2012 23-35 1785 7896 .302
    29 Julio Franco 2169 1983 1999 24-40 1875 8081 .301
    30 Magglio Ordonez 2156 1997 2011 23-37 1848 7745 .309
    31 Don Baylor 2135 1970 1988 21-39 2292 9401 .260
    32 Paul Konerko 2099 1999 2012 23-36 2022 8356 .285
    33 Brian Downing 2099 1973 1992 22-41 2344 9309 .267
    34 Harmon Killebrew 2086 1954 1975 18-39 2435 9833 .256
    35 Buddy Bell 2076 1972 1989 20-37 1945 8121 .283
    36 Carney Lansford 2074 1978 1992 21-35 1862 7905 .290
    37 George Kell 2054 1943 1957 20-34 1795 7529 .306
    38 Bob Johnson 2051 1933 1945 27-39 1863 8050 .296
    39 Bobby Doerr 2042 1937 1951 19-33 1865 8028 .288
    40 George Burns 2018 1914 1929 21-36 1867 7237 .307
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 8/22/2012.

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    Yankees Skid Coming?

    Posted by on August 22nd, 2012 · Comments (6)

    The Yankees have now lost 4 of their last 6 games.  Is this the start of a bad streak for them?

    I doubt it – with them playing the Indians and Blue Jays after they finish out with the White Sox.

    That should help New York get on the right track before they have to face the O’s and the Rays in some tough games – ten in a row.

    But, if the Yankees don’t win at least four of those games against Cleveland and Toronto, then the heat is on come August 31st.

    Should The Yankees Trade Robinson Cano After This Season?

    Posted by on August 21st, 2012 · Comments (28)

    Robinson Cano will be a free agent after the 2013 season. And, his agent is Scott Boras. So, you know that he will be testing the market.

    At his age then, which will be 31-years old, he’s probably looking to get a six to seven-year deal in the range of $120 million dollars.

    He may not get it – but, knowing Boras, they will be asking for it. And, in the end, he’s going to get a nice offer from somebody (as long as he doesn’t screw up between now and that time when he’s on the market).

    I know that Cano is one of the Yankees main offensive weapons at this time and should be next year as well. And, I know that he’s a Gold Glove caliber player in the field. But, doesn’t it make sense to shop him after this off-season and see what you can get for him?

    And, then, in 2013, you can see if Corban Joseph or David Adams could take his spot in the field?

    Granted, they will not be able to take Cano’s spot in the line-up. And, the Yankees will need offensive help in 2013 given the way that A-Rod, Teixeira and Granderson are trending. And, Nick Swisher may be gone and Derek Jeter will be a year older. So, maybe you take the last year of Cano, hope that he’s gang-busters, and then go with Joseph or Adams in 2014?

    But, what if some team out there offered you a young, stud, major league ready outfielder (because they had a surplus) and something else useful for Cano? Should you take it? Remember, Swisher may be gone after this year and Granderson the year after that one.

    Mason Williams and Tyler Austin are not right around the corner. If the Yankees have to fill their outfield from within, you’re looking at Melky Mesa, Ronnier Mustelier, Zoilo Almonte, or Abe Almonte. And, no, I don’t think the Yankees are going to try and sign Michael Bourn, Josh Hamilton or Shane Victorino after this season.

    Again, it would have to be a super offer; but, maybe it makes sense for the Yankees to trade Cano after this season rather than let him walk away after 2013?

    Swisher Wants $100+ Million Contract After 2012

    Posted by on August 21st, 2012 · Comments (16)

    Via Jon Heyman -

    Word going around is, Nick Swisher, the Yankees’ eternally upbeat rightfield power supply, may seek a “Jayson Werth contract” when he hits free agency at the end of the year.

    To baseball fans, that is well-known to mean $126 million over seven years. In other words, it’s a lot more money than most folks have guessed so far for Swish.

    Second-hand or not, some Yankees people have heard that’s the figure Swisher is thinking about and may at least shoot for, and one other source who’s spoken to Swisher said that, indeed, Swisher has shown real interest in Werth’s deal. It’s believed the two sides have had no extension talks yet, as it is team policy to wait for free agency, except in rare cases.

    While the $126-million figure is two to three times more than most of the estimates for Swisher, free agency brings some surprises. The Werth deal, for instance.

    Swisher initially gave the usual player-speak answer, “I haven’t thought about it,” when asked if he sees the Werth deal as a fair comp for him. I tried to lighten the mood by asking if he had ever “heard” of the Werth contract, and Swisher characteristically responded by laughing uproariously. We both know, of course, that any corner outfielder who’s a very good player having a very good year (but is a bit short of being a cornerstone player) has to have thought long and hard about the Werth deal.

    Eventually, he did say about Werth’s Nationals contract, “It’s a great deal for him.” And then Swisher did challenge me to look at the record.

    “Check it out,” Swisher implored me. “See what it says.”

    So I did. And statistically speaking, it’s pretty darned close between the two corner outfielders.

    Werth was 31 when he went into his free-agent offseason, Swisher will be, too. Werth had a 19.2 WAR, Swisher has a 19.0 WAR now. I’m no WAR expert, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say Swisher’s WAR will be somewhere in the range of Werth’s 19.2 by season’s end, and in fact, perhaps even exactly Werth’s 19.2.

    Swisher (who is 31-years old) is good for 25 homers and 85 RBI a season (along with an OBA around .360). He’s not a great right fielder. But, he’s far from terrible out there. And, he does a surprisingly good job at first base when asked to fill in at that position on a limited basis.

    However, I suspect that, in three or four years, Swisher will decline to the point where he’s a useful bench player, at best.

    If someone wants to give him three years at $35 million with an option for a fourth year, I could understand that deal. But, anyone who gives him a seven-year contract for anything near or above $100 million is insane.

    The Tampa Bay Rays Are 4 Games Out Of First Place

    Posted by on August 21st, 2012 · Comments (8)

    Man, are the Rays smoking!

    They are 15-4 in their last 19 games and that includes two games where they lost 1-0 and another where they lost 3-2.

    On July 18th, they were 10 1/2 games out of first.

    Amazing how quickly they got back into it…

    Since July 20th, the Rays went 20-9 while the Yankees went 15-15.

    Yup, that will do it…

    Too bad that Tampa only has 6 games left with New York this year.

    Ugly Game

    Posted by on August 21st, 2012 · Comments (15)

    Are you kidding me with this one?

    • Leaving the bases loaded to end the 1st inning.
    • The way the 2nd inning ended at the plate.
    • Garcia imploding in the 5th inning.
    • Joba in  the 6th inning.
    • Logan in  the 7th inning.
    • Lowe in  the 8th inning.

    What more can I say?

    “Pineda” Really Is Spanish For “Pavano”

    Posted by on August 20th, 2012 · Comments (10)

    Via the Post -

    Injured Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was busted for DUI in Tampa, Fla., on a busy road early this morning after a cop spotted his speeding, “weaving” Nissan SUV driving without its headlights on, cops said.

    The burly Pineda, 23, “had a fixed gaze and his eyes were bloodshot, watery and glassy,” a Tampa police officer wrote after pulling the 23-year-old hurler over at 2:35 a.m. on North Dale Mabry Highway.

    “I could smell a distinct odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath, and his speech was slurred,” the cop wrote about Pineda, who was an All-Star in his rookie season last year with the Seattle Mariners.

    The Domnican Republic native’s blood-alcohol level was found to be .128 and .125 in two separate readings, according to police records. He was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, and released on a $500 bond from jail shortly before noon today.

    Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman told The Post “no comment” when asked about Pineda’s arrest.

    Poor Brian Cashman has such terrible luck with pitching acquisitions, doesn’t he?

    Oh, My, Gawd! Rawjah Clemens Is In Matt O’Brien’s Box!

    Posted by on August 20th, 2012 · Comments (3)

    Via FOX 26 Sports –

    Sugar Land Skeeters president Matt O’Brien and Roger Clemens’ agent Randy Hendricks told FOX 26 Sports that Clemens worked out for the Skeeters today and will sign with the team.

    Hendricks and O’Brien told FOX Clemens will start for the Skeeters this Saturday in Sugar Land.

    Astros bullpen catcher Javier Bracamonte, who is a close friend of Clemens, caught Clemens’ workout for the Skeeters.

    “He’s in such great shape it’s ridiculous,” Bracamonte said. “He’s the same guy he was before.

    “He is nasty. His split is good. He still has life. He was throwing in the high 80s.”

    Bracamonte said Clemens went through his usual routine before throwing in game situations during the workout.

    “He ran three miles, threw a bullpen and threw batting practice,” Bracamonte said. “He had a lot of movement on the ball. To me he is still the same.”

    More on this here.

    And, the Class of ’62 lives again!

    They Were Yankees Winners

    Posted by on August 20th, 2012 · Comments (0)

    Best Win % for Yankees pitchers – minimum of 65 starts with New York:

    Rk Player W-L% GS From To Age G W L SV IP
    1 CC Sabathia .732 121 2009 2012 28-31 121 71 26 0 846.2
    2 Johnny Allen .725 78 1932 1935 27-30 94 50 19 5 615.1
    3 Spud Chandler .717 184 1937 1947 29-39 211 109 43 6 1485.0
    4 David Wells .708 123 1997 2003 34-40 124 68 28 0 851.2
    5 Vic Raschi .706 207 1946 1953 27-34 218 120 50 3 1537.0
    6 Monte Pearson .700 114 1936 1940 27-31 121 63 27 2 825.2
    7 Whitey Ford .690 438 1950 1967 21-38 498 236 106 10 3170.1
    8 Allie Reynolds .686 209 1947 1954 30-37 295 131 60 41 1700.0
    9 Chien-Ming Wang .679 104 2005 2009 25-29 109 55 26 1 670.2
    10 Jimmy Key .676 94 1993 1996 32-35 94 48 23 0 604.1
    11 Carl Mays .672 124 1919 1923 27-31 164 80 39 11 1090.0
    12 Roger Clemens .664 174 1999 2007 36-44 175 83 42 0 1103.0
    13 Atley Donald .663 115 1938 1945 27-34 153 65 33 1 932.1
    14 Eddie Lopat .657 202 1948 1955 30-37 217 113 59 2 1497.1
    15 Don Larsen .652 90 1955 1959 25-29 128 45 24 3 655.1
    16 Lefty Gomez .652 319 1930 1942 21-33 367 189 101 9 2498.1
    17 Ron Guidry .651 323 1975 1988 24-37 368 170 91 4 2392.0
    18 Red Ruffing .651 391 1930 1946 25-41 426 231 124 8 3168.2
    19 Hank Borowy .651 96 1942 1945 26-29 107 56 30 3 780.2
    20 Tommy Byrne .643 118 1943 1957 23-37 221 72 40 12 993.2
    21 Herb Pennock .643 268 1923 1933 29-39 346 162 90 21 2203.1
    22 Andy Pettitte .642 405 1995 2012 23-40 414 206 115 0 2594.1
    23 Randy Johnson .642 67 2005 2006 41-42 67 34 19 0 430.2
    24 Mike Mussina .631 248 2001 2008 32-39 249 123 72 0 1553.0
    25 Urban Shocker .622 111 1916 1928 25-37 152 61 37 5 932.0
    26 Bullet Joe Bush .620 91 1922 1924 29-31 115 62 38 4 783.0
    27 Dennis Rasmussen .619 96 1984 1987 25-28 103 39 24 0 597.1
    28 Waite Hoyt .616 276 1921 1930 21-30 365 157 98 28 2272.1
    29 David Cone .615 144 1995 2000 32-37 145 64 40 0 922.0
    30 Ed Figueroa .614 126 1976 1980 27-31 132 62 39 1 911.2
    31 Bump Hadley .613 79 1936 1940 31-35 140 49 31 6 753.1
    32 Bob Turley .612 175 1955 1962 24-31 234 82 52 12 1269.0
    33 Tiny Bonham .612 141 1940 1946 26-32 158 79 50 6 1176.2
    34 Orlando Hernandez .604 136 1998 2004 32-38 139 61 40 1 876.1
    35 Tommy John .603 203 1979 1989 36-46 214 91 60 0 1367.0
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 8/20/2012.

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    Oh, that Dennis…

    He really is a menace.

    Such a rotten kid, I love him.

    Feels A Lot Like 2006 In Yankeeland Today

    Posted by on August 20th, 2012 · Comments (12)

    The Yankees now have three pitchers with at least 12 wins:   Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes and CC Sabathia.

    The last time the Yankees had 3+ pitchers with 12+ wins prior to September 1st was 2006 when Chien-Ming Wang, Randy Johnson and Mike Mussina did it.

    The Yankees record this morning is 72-49.

    After 121 games in 2006, their record was 73-48.

    Let’s just hope that the ALDS in 2012 isn’t like the one that the Yankees had in 2006.

    Just Like The Old Days

    Posted by on August 20th, 2012 · Comments (8)

    So, my son and I were at the Yankees game last night.

    Early in the game, between innings, they were showing random people in the stands, up on the big screen.  And, one of them was a guy with his wife.

    The dude was wearing a yellow shirt, if I recall correctly, and had on a pair of granny glasses.

    OK, what’s the big deal?

    He was sleeping. His wife was awake but he was sitting there, early in a Yankees-Red Sox game, in what appeared to be great seats because of the high backs and padding, with his chin slightly tucked in and his eyes shut.

    The split-second I saw the image, I said to my son “Oh, my, that guy is asleep!”

    Then, right away, the crowd started to cheer and I quickly realized who the man was…it was Joe Torre.

    Once the crowd got loud, he opened his eyes and sort of smiled.

    I guess some habits are hard to give up…sleeping during the game….really?

    Cashman: Hughes, Joba & Pineda Not In His Dreams Now

    Posted by on August 19th, 2012 · Comments (17)

    Via Joel Sherman-

    It may feel like yesterday that Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain got here, but it is not too many more tomorrows until they could leave.

    Hughes and Chamberlain both are due to be free agents after next season, which means the clock is ticking for the Yankees to decide what to do with them. And that, in many ways, boils down to a question of who they are.

    Interestingly, Brian Cashman said, “I believe I know who they are.”

    And when pressed on that, the Yankees general manager added: “They have been around long enough. They are not guys I am dreaming on anymore.”

    Translation: In the eyes of the Yankees front office, Hughes and Chamberlain no longer have a higher ceiling to reach; they are no longer projectable to something considerably better than what they are now. They are — in the Yankees’ thoughts — who we think they are: Talented, but maddeningly inconsistent performers. And what does an organization do long term about those types of entities as they enter their prime — and also their prime earning years?

    “They are here for a reason, — they are important pieces for us,” Cashman said. “I have made trades and done things and I haven’t moved them. That should say something.”

    But when asked if that meant wanting either or both long term, Cashman said, “That is stuff I can’t answer at this stage. It is a two-way street. It is a negotiation for two sides. So it is all for another day.”

    [Hughes] did not grow into the No. 1 or 2 starter of the Yankees’ dreams. He’s more like a No. 3 1/2. Hughes has yet to put two healthy, successful seasons back-to-back as a starter. His changeup has never fully formed, and he has become homer prone. Hughes’ 4.41 ERA as a Yankee is the third worst in franchise history for anyone who has thrown at least 575 innings, trailing just Hank Johnson (4.84) and A.J. Burnett (4.74).

    The Yankees could, in theory, re-sign free agents Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda for a year to join CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and David Phelps, with the hope Michael Pineda returns healthy enough from shoulder surgery to have an impact. Cashman said Pineda “would not be a factor” in building a 2013 rotation because “he is coming off of a major injury. The best thing to do is just forget about him until he declares himself ready to help. Let him surprise us as a luxury.”

    Nova seems very hittable this year. Also, Pettitte and Kuroda are not spring chickens – although the latter has been very impressive this season.

    I like David Phelps. And, I would have no problem counting on his to be your fifth starter in 2013. But, if Hughes and Pineda are somewhat, potentially, out of the picture for next season, the Yankees are looking at a year-older Sabathia in 2013 and a lot of questions in their rotation. And, let’s not forget that Sabathia has broken down twice this season.

    And, Joba?  There’s a lot of rust there now.  And, before  that, he was just a league average pitcher.  Think: Brian Bruney.

    It’s probably time to let him go.

    Melky’s Web Of Lies Attracts Investigators

    Posted by on August 19th, 2012 · Comments (5)

    Via the Daily News -

    In a bizarre attempt to avoid a 50-game drug suspension, San Francisco Giants star Melky Cabrera created a fictitious website and a nonexistent product designed to prove he inadvertently took the banned substance that caused a positive test under Major League Baseball’s drug program.

    But instead of exonerating Cabrera of steroid use, the Internet stunt trapped him in a web of lies. Amid the information-gathering phase of his doping case last month, his cover story unraveled quickly, and what might have been a simple suspension has attracted further attention from federal investigators and MLB, the Daily News has learned.

    Famed steroid cop Jeff Novitzky, a criminal investigative agent for the Food & Drug Administration, and agents from MLB’s Department of Investigation have begun looking into Cabrera’s associates and his entourage, including trainers, handlers and agents, as they search for the source of the synthetic testosterone that appeared in a sample of the All-Star Game MVP’s urine.

    The scheme began unfolding in July as Cabrera and his representatives scrambled to explain a spike in the former Yankee’s testosterone levels. Cabrera associate Juan Nunez, described by the player’s agents, Seth and Sam Levinson, as a “paid consultant” of their firm but not an “employee,” is alleged to have paid $10,000 to acquire the phony website. The idea, apparently, was to lay a trail of digital breadcrumbs suggesting Cabrera had ordered a supplement that ended up causing the positive test, and to rely on a clause in the collectively bargained drug program that allows a player who has tested positive to attempt to prove he ingested a banned substance through no fault of his own.

    “There was a product they said caused this positive,” one source familiar with the case said of Cabrera’s scheme. “Baseball figured out the ruse pretty quickly.”

    Nunez told The News Saturday that he was “accepting responsibility for what everyone else already knows,” regarding the fake website, adding that the Levinsons were not involved in the website in any way. They also adamantly deny any knowledge of the scheme or having been involved with it.

    “Sam and I absolutely had no knowledge or dealings with anyone at anytime associated with the website,” Seth Levinson said in an email to The News. “I will state unequivocally and irrefutably that any payment made to the website does not come from ACES (their New York-based sports agency, Athletes’ Career Enhanced and Secured Inc.)”

    “I was the only one who had dealings with the website,” Nunez said. “Neither Seth nor Sam had any dealings with the website, nor did anyone else in the firm.”

    According to Seth Levinson, the agents hired the Spanish-speaking Nunez to help them obtain and deal with their Dominican clients, including Cabrera. On Saturday, Levinson distanced himself and his brother from Nunez.

    “Juan Nunez is NOT a salaried employee of ACES and does NOT receive the benefits that all ACES employees receive,” Levinson said. “Most importantly, any and all calls, texts and emails that he sends come from his own PERSONAL devices (BlackBerry).”

    According to sources familiar with the case, the Levinsons are not a target of a probe by the feds, who are believed to have become interested in the Cabrera case as a result of the website machinations.

    While the particulars of the Cabrera case are unusual, the case fits a familiar pattern. From Barry Bonds’ personal trainer, Greg Anderson, to A-Rod’s cousin, to trainer Angel Presinal, many of baseball’s recent doping scandals have been facilitated by individuals in a player’s entourage who weren’t accountable to team officials.

    Major League Baseball declined to comment on the Cabrera case but at the owners’ meetings in Denver last week, commissioner Bud Selig touched on the issue of those who facilitate drug use by players, telling owners they would be “shocked” when they hear what’s been going on “when this all comes out.”

    Seeing this, I wonder if any other current players are starting to sweat what may be uncovered and disclosed? And, it would not shock me to find out that someone with close ties to Cabrera may be impacted by this investigation.

    When he was on the Yankees, Melky was very tight with Robinson Cano and they both followed Alex Rodiguez around like puppy dogs when they first came up to the majors.  If fact, it was reported that A-Rod urged the Yankees to reacquire Cabrera because he knew that he was in the best shape of his life and on the verge of a remarkable season.  Also, recently Cano has been in a bit of a mini-slump.  In his last seven games, he only has one hit in his last 21 AB – which is a .048 batting average.  Could this be the result of having something else on his mind?  Perhaps – but it is a very, very small sample size.  And, he could turn that around in a hurry.

    Do A-Rod and Cano have any connection to Juan Nunez? I doubt it – since they both use different agents than Cabrera. But, perhaps Nunez is just a tool for Melky and he was instructed by Cabrera to interact with another source? Then, there could be a possibility that that other source is connected to someone like A-Rod and/or Cano. Time will tell.

    Less YES?

    Posted by on August 18th, 2012 · Comments (14)

    Bob Raissmann writes about the YES Network -

    Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network suits rotate six different analysts in their Bombers booth. If they put a premium on chemistry and overall performance they would use only two — Paul O’Neill and David Cone.

    Their work together during the recent Texas-Yankees series again showed their ability to make each other better. They make it hard to bail — even during a Yankees blowout. This kind of chemical balance can’t be taught. It doesn’t come from a micromanaging producer. And it isn’t the result of being led around by a play-by-play voice.

    This all comes naturally for O’Neill and Cone. For example, O’Neill often plays the fool when he goes solo with Michael Kay. O’Neill’s forced persona, a shticky substance, takes precedence over his edge as an analyst. When teamed with Cone, O’Neill’s sense of humor flows naturally and doesn’t dominate.

    The two analysts make Kay better, too. He sticks to his role as third wheel giving his partners room to maneuver.

    Cone is most effective playing off O’Neill, counter analyzing. They don’t often debate, but see the game from two different perspectives. Cone, who also talks about the business of baseball, is a smart guy (at least when it comes to baseball), but he never talks down to viewers. He’s got plenty of wise guy in him. When it collides with O’Neill’s bumpkinish approach it produces a very unique insight into the game.

    They can be very subtle. It’s an outstanding quality. O’Neill and Cone leave plenty of space for viewers to read between the lines. Like Tuesday night when they were paying tribute to their former colleague Jim Kaat, who was working the game for MLB Network.

    They went to great lengths to describe Kaat’s broadcasting genius. It got to the point where their implication was clear: If Kaat is so good why isn’t he still with YES?

    Then again, that would add another analyst to the cast of voices. Seriously though, we wonder how good Cone and O’Neill would become if they worked a Big Boys schedule (like Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling on SNY) where they did 80 or more games?

    The results could be sensational. Yet the reality is O’Neill likely wouldn’t want to work that many games and, for whatever reason, the brainiacs running YES are allergic to continuity.

    And overjoyed because there’s no luxury tax on announcers.

    I love Paul O’Neill in the YES booth. He’s the closest thing to the Scooter since the Scooter. And, Cone is refreshing.

    If John Flaherty and Al Leiter were sent packing, I don’t think it would bother me all that much. But, I would hate to lose Ken Singleton.

    Maybe the answer is to make it O’Neill, Kay and Cone – and fill in with Singleton only when O’Neill or Cone cannot make it?

    The Dark Secrets & Mysterious Death Of Chick Stahl

    Posted by on August 18th, 2012 · Comments (1)

    It’s a fascinating read.

    H/T BBTF.

    The Greatness Of Derek Jeter

    Posted by on August 18th, 2012 · Comments (12)

    Via the Washington Post -

    Willie Mays and [Derek] Jeter are the only players with 3,000 hits, 250 homers, 300 steals and 1,200 RBIs.

    And, via ESPN -

    With his 250th career homer in the fifth inning of Friday night’s 6-4 win over the Red Sox, [Derek] Jeter notched the 16th 10-or-more-homer season of his 17-year career; [Babe] Ruth had 15 as a Yank. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Mickey Mantle holds the franchise record with 18 double-digit homer seasons, while Yogi Berra also has 16.

    According to STATS Inc., Jeter is the fourth player in baseball history to reach 3,000 hits, 300 stolen bases and 250 homers in his career, joining Willie Mays, Rickey Henderson and Craig Biggio.

    And, if I heard it correctly on the MLB Network this morning, Jeter is the fastest one to go 3000/300/250.

    Red Sox Problem Is Starting Pitching

    Posted by on August 18th, 2012 · Comments (9)

    Via the Boston Herald -

    Go ahead and blame the Red Sox’ train wreck of a season on an injury epidemic that has put 25 players on the disabled list.

    After all, that’s the most common explanation provided by most players and manager Bobby Valentine.

    But another matchup between the fast-fading Red Sox and the front-running New York Yankees brings the real problem into 20/20 focus.

    It’s all about the pitching.

    In the latest not-nearly-good-enough start by a Red Sox pitcher, Franklin Morales allowed four solo home runs in 51⁄3 innings last night in a 6-4 loss at Yankee Stadium. In all, the Yankees went deep five times, burying the Red Sox even deeper in both the American League East and the wild card standings.

    Jon Lester and Josh Beckett have been the poster boys for underachieving pitching. But as a group, Red Sox starters have a 4.84 ERA, fourth-worst in the AL and better than only the Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins, each of whom are bound for losing records.

    Is it any wonder the Sox, at 58-62, have won as many as four games in a row only once since the middle of June? Even if the players got along so well with Valentine that they all held hands during “The Star-Spangled Banner,” a winning streak isn’t sustainable without better pitching.

    “When you talk about the pitching,” Valentine said, “the only thing it has kind of stressed us on is we’ve played, I think, an abnormal amount of games where we’ve been behind early. I think it stresses the offense, and our offense has been challenged at times.”

    Wasn’t it just like a year and a half ago where everyone thought the Red Sox were the best team in baseball because they had so much quality starting pitching? Lester, Buchholz, Lackey, Beckett and Dice-K were their five “horses,’ if I recall correctly, back at the start of 2011. And, they were backed up by Alfredo Aceves, Tim Wakefield, Michael Bowden and Andrew Miller.

    It’s amazing how south this group went, in a hurry.

    A.L. Batting Leaders

    Posted by on August 17th, 2012 · Comments (7)

    Here they are, as of this morning.

    Can Derek Jeter win the batting title this year?  Or, is it between Trout and Cabrera?

    Rk Player BA Year Age Tm G PA AB
    1 Mike Trout .340 2012 20 LAA 96 441 388
    2 Miguel Cabrera .327 2012 29 DET 118 520 468
    3 Derek Jeter .320 2012 38 NYY 116 535 497
    4 Joe Mauer .320 2012 29 MIN 108 470 400
    5 Ben Revere .319 2012 24 MIN 82 369 345
    6 Paul Konerko .316 2012 36 CHW 101 423 377
    7 David Ortiz .316 2012 36 BOS 89 379 320
    8 Robinson Cano .311 2012 29 NYY 117 501 454
    9 Austin Jackson .310 2012 25 DET 96 435 378
    10 Prince Fielder .309 2012 28 DET 118 509 431
    11 Alex Rios .309 2012 31 CHW 114 469 443
    12 Adrian Gonzalez .308 2012 30 BOS 117 500 458
    13 Adrian Beltre .303 2012 33 TEX 113 477 439
    14 Alcides Escobar .301 2012 25 KCR 114 468 435
    15 Billy Butler .301 2012 26 KCR 116 487 438
    16 Elvis Andrus .298 2012 23 TEX 113 519 453
    17 A.J. Pierzynski .296 2012 35 CHW 98 381 351
    18 Adam Jones .296 2012 26 BAL 118 503 467
    19 Ryan Doumit .294 2012 31 MIN 98 384 347
    20 Edwin Encarnacion .293 2012 29 TOR 114 488 416
    21 Josh Hamilton .293 2012 31 TEX 109 472 416
    22 Torii Hunter .291 2012 36 LAA 98 400 368
    23 Alex Gordon .291 2012 28 KCR 116 530 471
    24 Michael Brantley .290 2012 25 CLE 114 473 434
    25 Mark Trumbo .289 2012 26 LAA 108 443 409
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 8/17/2012.

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    MLB To Test Replay System In NYC

    Posted by on August 17th, 2012 · Comments (0)

    Via Jeff Passan -

    Major League Baseball owners have agreed to test two different advanced replay systems live during games starting next week, and if they prove accurate they could precede an overhaul of the system for the 2013 season, sources told Yahoo! Sports.

    MLB will analyze a radar-based system and a camera-based system, both similar to the one used in tennis for down-the-line fair-or-foul calls. Yankee Stadium and Citi Field will be the guinea-pig parks for the systems, which have been installed recently.

    The use of the systems will be strictly in the background and for analysis. Because the number of questionable plays during games is likely to be limited, MLB plans to do extra testing on non-game days. Before implementing the technology in its 30 ballparks, the league wants to ensure its accuracy is up to standard.

    Because of Armando Galarraga’s blown perfect game in 2010 and seemingly nightly missed calls, the outcry for replay has grown loud enough that it forced MLB to at least consider a wide-ranging proposal presented at the owners’ meetings this week in Denver. While they have balked at the cost of instituting replay – estimates range from $30 million to $40 million for infrastructure and equipment, plus the salaries for 15 extra umpires if indeed MLB uses one in a replay booth – owners did give the go-ahead to assess the new systems.

    Currently, baseball uses replay only for boundary calls – mainly limited to home runs and fan interference. The sport’s new collective-bargaining agreement called for expanded replay on fair-or-foul calls as well as trapped balls.

    Even though some high-ranking baseball officials remain dubious on replay – commissioner Bud Selig said at the All-Star Game “nobody is anxious to increase instant replay” – there is a groundswell of support to at least quell the perception that baseball is ignoring the available technologies.

    You don’t install and test unless you have the expectation to implement. So, this is coming folks – sooner or later.

    A.L. Defensive Efficiency Leaders

    Posted by on August 17th, 2012 · Comments (4)

    Here are the leaders in the A.L. this season, to date, as of this morning:

    Tm #Fld R/G DefEff ▾ G Inn Ch E Fld% Rtot Rdrs
    SEA 36 3.98 .713 119 9630.0 4407 44 .990 10 36
    LAA 40 4.34 .707 119 9468.0 4433 72 .984 39 37
    CHW 41 4.12 .706 117 9471.0 4347 53 .988 45 -2
    OAK 46 3.79 .706 117 9576.0 4418 77 .983 30 15
    TBR 42 3.69 .701 118 9573.0 4468 84 .981 -18 27
    BOS 49 4.60 .699 119 9570.0 4516 66 .985 49 43
    TOR 51 4.83 .699 118 9504.0 4537 80 .982 66 68
    TEX 36 4.41 .696 117 9387.0 4286 63 .985 -9 -5
    LgAvg 41 4.42 .695 118 9495 4422 70 .984 5
    BAL 47 4.58 .691 118 9702.0 4573 90 .980 -6 -31
    CLE 42 5.19 .688 118 9435.0 4467 65 .985 -1 -21
    MIN 42 5.20 .686 117 9372.0 4491 74 .984 1 2
    NYY 39 4.09 .685 118 9450.0 4286 54 .987 -42 -20
    KCR 41 4.58 .677 117 9420.0 4399 78 .982 -37 -6
    DET 44 4.42 .672 118 9375.0 4284 73 .983 -56 -31
    578 4.42 .695 1650 132933.0 61912 973 .984 70
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 8/17/2012.

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    The Yankees need to do a better job at turning batted balls into outs.

    Chris Sale, Jake Peavy & Jose Quintana

    Posted by on August 17th, 2012 · Comments (2)

    All of a sudden, as a Yankees fan, I am starting to think that I want nothing to do with the White Sox in the post-season this year.

    Gone Watching

    Posted by on August 16th, 2012 · Comments (13)

    No posts from yours truly this afternoon. Have fun without me.

    The Yankees Are Kickin’ The Dog Days Of August In The Fanny

    Posted by on August 16th, 2012 · Comments (7)

    So far, this month, the Yankees are 10-4.

    And, this includes splitting a four game set in Motown and taking the first three games of a four game set against the Rangers.

    Granted, it also includes going 4-2 against the M’s and Jays. But, still…

    Color me impressed. And, color me more impressed if they keep it up against the Red Sox and White Sox, who are up next after Texas.

    Credit Freddy Garcia with some of this too. In the first 15 days of August, he’s 3-0 with an ERA of 3.06 in his three starts. He and Kurdoa, who has an ERA of 1.66 in August, to date, are the Yankees best pitchers this month.

    By the way, the Yankees are doing this without A-Rod. So, let’s file away all that crap about how the Yankees batting order lacks balance without him in the line-up.

    The King Is Perfect

    Posted by on August 15th, 2012 · Comments (3)

    Via Bloomberg

    Felix Hernandez pitched the 23rd perfect game in Major League Baseball history as the Seattle Mariners defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0.

    It’s the first time three perfect games have been thrown in a major league season. Chicago White Sox right-hander Philip Humber pitched one April 22 and Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants achieved the feat June 13.

    Hernandez struck out 12 of the 27 batters he faced at Safeco Field in Seattle to improve to 11-5 this season.

    The San Diego Padres are the only major league team not to have thrown a no-hitter.

    Dude has a bag of tricks out on the mound.

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